Kylian Mbappe has repaid the faith shown to him by the national team by scoring two goals in his first game as France’s captain.
The Paris Saint-Germain and France forward was made the national team captain last week by head coach Didier Deschamps after long-serving captain Hugo Lloris retired after the World Cup.
The announcement of Mbappe as captain raised some dust as he was considered too young to fill the position, especially given that Antoine Greizmann is still with the squad. Mbappe’s critics argued that the 32-year-old Atletico Madrid man was more deserving than the 24-year-old PSG forward.
However, Mbappe proved why he was chosen by Deschamps with a mature display on Friday as France put the Netherlands to the sword in a 4-0 win in their first Euro 2024 qualifier match.
The 24-year-old winger scored twice in the game to secure the win after goals from Antoine Griezmann’ and Dayot Upamecano in the first ten minutes. The brace took him past Karim Benzema to become France’s fifth-highest goal scorer with 38 goals in just 67 appearances.
With at least a decade left in the game, few would bet against him passing Olivier Giroud’s record of 53 for the national team.
After the game, Mbappe said they didn’t want to disappoint the fans who came to watch the team for the first time since their loss to Argentina in the World Cup final.
“We prepared all week with a view to not disappoint our fans”, said Mbappe told TF1
“We wanted to follow in our footsteps from the World Cup, aside from the final. We’re very happy. It’s a good first step, but there’s all to play for in the group.”
“I continued to do my job, help the team and be decisive. I’m trying to bring more of the team with me. It worked today, but it’s only a start.’
Meanwhile, France manager Didier Deschamps says he does not expect the captaincy to change Mbappe after his star showing on Friday.
“The captain’s armband is not going to change him,” Deschamps told La Chaine L’Equipe via Sportsmail after the game.
“He’s getting involved and is enjoying himself. He’s making efforts like his teammates do. He also changed positions occasionally. He knew how to compensate.
“He is the skipper, but he already in played games like this. Like the rest of the squad, he had that desire to produce a very good game and, most of all, to win.