Despite sustaining a slight knock forcing him to be subbed off in Bayern Munich’s 2-0 win over Barcelona in the Champions League, Benjamin Pavard has been called up to France’s national squad for their upcoming UEFA Nations League matches against Austria and Denmark. Dayot Upaemcano has also been recalled to the national team while both Lucas Hernandez and Kingsley Coman miss out this time around due to their respective injury problems. Hopefully for Bayern, Pavard comes back from France duty with a clean bill of health as well as Upamecano.
Pavard got his first France callup back in the late fall of 2017, when he was still playing for VfB Stuttgart. At the time, he was a stalwart in the Swabians’ backline and Didier Deschamps, along with his coaching staff, took notice. When Pavard first found out about said callup for Le Bleus, he said it was one of the best days of his life and even admitted being reduced to tears (Bundesliga). Fast forward to less than a year from his first callup, and he was winning a World Cup in Russia, having scored one of the most memorable goals of the tournament with his volleyed effort in the win over Argentina.
Both Pavard and Upamecano arrive at Clairefontaine on Monday ahead of France’s pair of matches, and in a television interview on Telefoot, Pavard spoke about how grateful he is for Deschamps giving him the proper chance with the senior international squad. It’s something he never expected would happen when he was still with Stuttgart. “He’s an important person for me. He came to watch me in Stuttgart when nobody was watching me. I owe him a lot. I would die for him on the pitch,” Pavard enthusiastically stressed (@iMiaSanMia).
During France’s group stage match against Germany last summer at the European Championships, Pavard quite literally put his body on the line for Deschamps and the rest of the team. He was down with a head injury after a nasty collision with Robin Gosens in the box and him being allowed to continue by the physios and officials was a topic of increased scrutiny. There had been tighter concussion protocols implemented ahead of the tournament along with all of the coronavirus guidelines and procedures, and there was a heightened edginess to players’ well being given what had happened to Denmark’s Christian Eriksen earlier on in the tournament having collapsed from cardiac arrest.
In that sense, Pavard has already put his money where his mouth is and has undoubtedly expressed his utmost commitment to Deschamps and France.