As expected, Kingsley Coman has been called up to France’s World Cup squad by Didier Deschamps amongst a star-studded cast of attacking players. Going into the World Cup, France assuredly has one of the deepest squads position by position and are one of the favorites to make it all the way to the final of the tournament.
Coman unfortunately missed out on France’s World Cup 2018 triumph in Russia through a bad injury that had him sidelined for most of that corresponding season for Bayern Munich, so this is his first time going to a World Cup. He did take part in France’s Euro 2016 and Euro 2020 excursions, though, having made it all the way to the final in 2016 when France eventually lost to Portugal in extra time at the Stade de France.
Knowing his age and his injury susceptibility, Coman is realistically aware that this very well might be the only World Cup of his career. He’s said in the past that if he suffers another serious ankle injury that he might consider hanging up his boots for good, but thankfully for Bayern and France, it hasn’t yet come to that. “The World Cup is very important to me. It’s going to be my first and maybe the last, because you never know in football. I’m 26 - maybe at 30 I’ll be better, but no longer at my peak physically,” Coman told kicker’s Frank Linkesch (as captured by @iMiaSanMia).
In Qatar, Coman knows just how much talent Deschamps has at his disposal for every position, especially in attack. Coman will be competing against the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Christopher Nkunku, Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud and Karim Benzema in France’s attacking line, making it difficult to get many minutes in a starting role. He’s well aware of this as it pertains to the systems that Deschamps has shown a preference to using. “My problem is that we played a system without wingers in the last games - we played with two strikers and a #10. So only the position of a wing-back stayed for me. I can play there, but it’s not my favorite position,” he explained.
Coman has recently said that he sees himself in more of a #10 role at Bayern Munich, but Julian Nagelsmann most often uses him as a winger in his setups. With the way Deschamps likes to set up most often and most recently, Coman said he doesn’t feel he’s exactly the right player to occupy one of the two wing-back roles. “If the coach wants a player that defends well for that position, then I’m probably not the right player. Someone like Benjamin Pavard for example can do it better. Maybe we’ll play 4-3-3 at the World Cup, I wouldn’t be against that,” he explained.
Looking ahead to the tournament kicking off, Coman said the France doesn’t want to get ahead of themselves despite being favorite and the current holders of the World Cup title. They exited the European Championships far earlier than they wanted to by virtue of losing a penalty shootout to Switzerland. “The title is always the target. But after the bad European Championship last year, we’ll go from game to game. We’ll give everything and will see,” he stressed.