Lloris wants Rabiot to be a leader for France as Deschamps says more to come from Dembele
Hugo Lloris is confident Adrien Rabiot will prove crucial to France's World Cup defence following his impressive display against Australia, while Didier Deschamps wants even more from Ousmane Dembele.
Injuries to Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante opened the door for Rabiot to assume a central role in Qatar, and he did not let Les Bleus down in their 4-1 win over the Socceroos.
The Juventus midfielder grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck before the break, cancelling out Craig Goodwin's earlier strike by scoring the equaliser before assisting the first of Olivier Giroud's two goals.
Rabiot subsequently became the first France player to both score and assist a goal on his World Cup debut since Christophe Dugarry against South Africa in 1998.
Lloris said: "A lot has been said about the absences of Kante and Pogba, who have been vital engines for us for some years now.
"But you can forget that there are players who can step up and have the maturity and experience to take a leading role – Adrien has that.
"We know his qualities, there is an opportunity for him at this World Cup.
"The opportunity is coming at the right time and he has shown that against Australia.
"He stepped up and scored that goal and gave an assist to Olivier, it shows the impact he can have on the team.
"We know how talented he is, but he also is a very hard worker, he is very technically gifted, a very elegant player. I'm sure he'll help us go as far as possible."
Good morning to all Bleus fans! pic.twitter.com/PkxfLlKGbU— French Team (@FrenchTeam) November 25, 2022
Meanwhile, Deschamps believes Dembele must continue to strive for improvement, despite grabbing an assist in the Australia victory.
The Barcelona forward, whose brilliant cross set up Kylian Mbappe, started France's first two games at the 2018 tournament, but made just two further substitute appearances in Russia.
He was then unused during the victory over Croatia in the final.
But Deschamps insists Dembele has not arrived in Qatar with a point to prove, saying: "I don't think he wants to make up for it or forget it; he was in 2018 squad, and it was successful.
"Four years ago, he was going through a difficult time with major injuries. Now, he is more mature, but he is still full of youthful exuberance. He is in a club that is very demanding, and maybe he is better at that club.
"He is always capable of creating problems for the opponent as he is so quick and skilful, but he needs to rule out any wastefulness and be as effective as he possibly can.
"He was pleased to be in first XI [against Australia], and he put in a good performance."