France, the country who most non-French people (and quite a few French ones) love to hate on, provided a whopping 50 players to the World Cup. That’s 21 from their own squad plus 29 playing in other teams.
This is an impressive feat, portraying the high level of the French youth system. Infact, many foreign countries benefit from France’s superior football infrastructure. Players who go through the French academies but do not quite make it to the French national team sometimes decide to play for other conutries for which they are eligible. Riyad Mahrez, for example, comes to mind. Born in Sarcelles, France, this is a player the French system developed and it’s Algeria who are reaping the benefits. The new Manchester City boy is eligible to play for the North Africans because his parents were born there.
It’s a bit silly when people claim France are “stealing” top African players to increment their team’s strength or that the French national team is an African team. You might be having trouble believing this happens – believe me, it does! A lot!
On one hand, the French system produces an amazing number of fantastic football players, some of which go on to play for other countries and on the other hand, immigrants’ children in France are being provided with all the facilities they need and given their chances with the national team. This is a good thing. France are not looting African countries of their top players but instead are indirectly helping African nations acquire better players for their national teams.
Related: Beautiful World Cup Anecdotes
Next time you think of calling Pogba or Kante African players, remember one was born in Lagny-sur-Marne and the other in Paris. Last time we checked, both are located in France. The two midfielders came through the youth system in France. There is nothing wrong with being African but these players are 100% French. Even if they had not been born in the country, anybody who benefits from the facilities of a country’s youth system should ideally be playing for that country! Unless they know it will be tough to integrate the national team.
The diversity that we have in this team is in the image of our beautiful country, France. We proudly represent France. For us, that’s superb – Blaise Matuidi
Let’s all stop the hate & be grateful for the French youth system. 😉
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