Malouda: Mbappe, Dembele are designed to shine

The 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe is one of the world's best young footballers, but there are already fears of too much media attention and pressure ruining his game.

Kylian Mbappe scored twice in France's 4-3 win over Argentina to put France through to the quarter finals.   -  AFP

The French are basking in the glory of a superlative performance by 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe, who snuffed out Lionel Messi’s dream of leaving a lasting legacy with the national team. The Paris Saint Germain youngster was the chief protagonist in his side’s 4-3 win over Argentina, and there are already fears of too much media attention and pressure ruining his game.

Former France international Florent Malouda, however, disagrees. “Kylian and Ousmane (Dembele) are designed to shine, they cannot be afraid of the light,” he said. “I agree that they need to show consistency and carry on with their development and I hope they use and trust their natural talent, which can take them forward. But I am not concerned about the pressure, they are used to it. These players actually need the pressure to deliver.”

The 2006 World Cup finalist expressed confidence in Didier Deschamps' coaching methods, which had come under criticism following France’s less than inspiring group stage performances. “France has its own strategy and it will stick to it. People doubted France because of the frustration with its attacking game. But the coach knows what he is doing and to attack, you need to defend first,” he said.

“Deschamps needed everyone to be involved in his tactical system and that allows, as we saw last night, good counter-attacking football. Now, they will receive a lot of compliment, which might be a trap and the team has to be careful and focused with the elder players taking the lead to keep the squad together.”

The former Chelsea player, who played for Delhi Dynamos in the Indian Super League, is still closely following the developments in India. “My stint in India was great, I made a lot of friends, discovered a new country and maybe I will be back soon,” he said. “I am following the development in the ISL, the changes and hopefully the league will help football develop there and also the national team. Maybe, we can see Indian in the World Cup in Qatar.”

Meanwhile, the French midfielder is enjoying the football in Russia and doing his bit for the community with his involvement with the Generation Amazing project, an initiative of Qatar 2022’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy. 

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