Kylian Mbappe has “a lot more freedom” playing for France alongside a traditional striker compared to at Paris Saint-Germain, where he is flanked by Lionel Messi and Neymar.
The 23-year-old opened the scoring in Thursday’s 2-0 win over Austria as France picked up their first Nations League win of the campaign at the fifth attempt.
Mbappe, who had an early strike ruled out for offside, was played in by a perfect Olivier Giroud pass and blasted in his 28th international goal in 58 appearances.
He led the way for shots (seven), shots on target (three) and touches in the opposition box (10), while no player created more chances than the PSG forward’s three.
After producing an all-action display alongside Giroud, who became France’s oldest goalscorer with his second-half header, Mbappe said he is enjoying playing in the system.
“I play differently for France. I am asked other things here compared to my club,” he told reporters. “I have a lot more freedom here.
“The coach knows there is a number nine in the side like Olivier who can occupy defences while I walk around and go into space.
“In Paris it’s different – you don’t have that. I am asked to play as a pivot, which is different.”
35y & 357d – Thanks to his goal against Austria, Olivier Giroud becomes tonight, at 35 years and 357 days, the oldest French team goalscorer, overtaking Roger Marche (35 years and 287 days in December 1959 against Spain). Soldier. #FRAAUT pic.twitter.com/EayAAVuoLj
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) September 22, 2022
Asked if he enjoys playing in this France side more than alongside the likes of Neymar and Messi at PSG, Mbappe smiled and said: “I take pleasure everywhere I play.”
France had been at serious threat of relegation to the second tier, but they are now one point better off than bottom side Austria ahead of Sunday’s trip to Denmark.
Les Bleus have been hit by further injury withdrawals ahead of that match, with Jules Kounde and Mike Maignan the latest to pull out of the squad on Friday.
Deschamps still has plenty of options to call upon in each position for the contest in Copenhagen, where Mbappe is ready to start once again.
“I hope I will play on Sunday,” he said. “I am always ready to play, whether for club or country. The coach says there will be rotation, so we’ll see how it goes.”
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