France manager Didier Deschamps said Kurt Zouma’s performances with Chelsea have helped the defender secure an international spot.
The 26-year-old could be a regular starter for many other European countries. But France is one of the few that has been blessed with so many options for the centre-back positions.
Fortunately, Zouma’s brilliant displays this season for the Blues, including his important role in keeping five clean sheets in the club’s last six games, have been rewarded.
He earned a spot in the France squad alongside the likes of Barcelona’s Clement Lenglet, PSG’s Presnel Kimpembe and Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane (and Bayern Munich’s Lucas Hernandez who can also play as a centre-back).
But Zouma’s inclusion also means another highly-rated defender, RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano, has to be left out of the squad.
Deschamps explained his decision and highlighted Zouma’s performances for Chelsea.
“There’s competition in every position,” he told reporters during his press conference on Tuesday (via beIN Sports).
“If I pick him [Zouma], it’s because I think he’s better than others at that position and because of what he’s doing with Chelsea.
“He had a few injuries in a row, but now he’s been very fit for a while.
“He’s very calm, so he’s here.”
Deschamps also guaranteed that Zouma will have an opportunity to add to his five France caps so far during this international break.
“If you’re asking why I picked those four central defenders, I have to choose,” he added.
“We have three games in nine days so obviously everybody will play, including Kurt.”