According to reports, France starts their World Cup campaign against Australia on Tuesday, and Liverpool central defender Ibrahima Konate could start for Didier Deschamps’ team.
Having recently returned from an injury that kept him out of the first two months of the season, Konate has been included in France’s 26-man squad as they look to defend their title.
Jules Cunde, Benjamin Pawar, Raphael Varane, Theo Hernandez, Benoit Badiashile, William Saliba and Dayo Upamecano are other defenders in the team capable of playing as a central defender.
But with only a few days left until their first group match, reports in France claim that Konate is set to get approval to start.
According to RMC, Deschamps was preparing for the game with Konate along with Bayern Munich defender Upamecano in training.
The report claims that Konate is likely to line up after Aurelien Chuameni, the Real Madrid midfielder who was Liverpool’s main target in the summer transfer window.
Konate and Upamecano know each other well from the days when they played alongside each other at RB Leipzig, and Upamecano was also linked with a move to Liverpool before he decided to join Bayern.
Manchester United defender Varane has been a key player in the French national team in recent years, but may not be able to play in the early stages of the tournament as he continues to recover from injury.
A start for Konate would be a big show of faith from Deschamps, as the Liverpool central defender made his debut for the French senior team only in their Nations League match against Austria in June.
2D64T6B Ibrahima Konate from the French national under-21 team
That performance, followed by another 90 minutes against Croatia a few days later, remains his only two first-team appearances for his country to date.
Konate missed Liverpool’s final match before the World Cup against Southampton due to a minor injury, which the club did not want to risk.
However, he has been pictured training in France for a week and has clearly gotten rid of all previous health problems.
The news that he can start in Qatar will not come as a surprise to Liverpool fans, as Konate had a great debut season at the club, and their outstanding player lost to Real Madrid in the Champions League final in June.
Injury problems have hindered his progress this season, but there is no doubt that Konate is more than good enough to be trusted at this stage.