Lacazette firing on all cylinders and ready to excel for France

Although France failed to make a significant impact at the World Cup in the summer, expectation will be building in the Gallic nation ahead of hosting Euro 2016.

The last time a major tournament was played in France Les Bleus were crowned world champions, with a momentous 3-0 final victory over Brazil in Paris in 1998.

Didier Deschamps was captain of that famous team that won the World Cup for the first time and the France manager will be charged with leading his country to potential glory again in two years on home soil.

The former Juventus boss has been experimenting in his latest squad, with a host of young and relatively inexperienced players chosen to participate in the friendly matches against Albania and Sweden.

Of the 24 players selected, 13 had amassed 10 caps or less before Friday night’s 1-1 draw with Albania while nine are aged 23 or under.

One of the brightest prospects in the French game is Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette, who looks ready to have an impact at international level following an excellent start to the 2014-15 season for his club.

The sprightly attacker is no overnight sensation having made his Ligue 1 debut back in 2010 and has always been a player widely recognised as possessing the attributes to be a real star.

Lacazette has been consistently linked with a big-money switch away from his homeland to England or Italy over recent years, with speculation as strong as ever in the summer that he would move abroad.

However, the Lyon-born attacker opted to stay with his hometown club for at least an extra year and the decision is reaping dividends.

Alexandre LacazetteLacazette has netted 11 goals in Lyon’s opening 13 Ligue 1 games this season, powering his side up to third in the standings and thoroughly in the title race.

The forward scored 15 times last term and as such is seemingly set to have the most prolific season of his young career.

Lacazette’s technique and versatility has seen him operate in a number of different roles across Lyon’s forward line in the past, namely in wide areas, but the supreme talent has proven over the last 12 months that his best position is as a centre forward.

The Lyon man earned his fourth senior cap in France’s draw with Albania in Rennes and looks set to play a considerable role for his nation going forward.

Karim Benzema is Deschamps’ first-choice striker but the Real Madrid man has been widely accused of not replicating his club form in the blue of his country.

The 76-cap veteran has only really had Olivier Giroud and Loïc Rémy as competition and as such France have more often than not deployed Benzema as a lone striker.

However on Friday night Deschamps opted to partner Lacazette with the Madrid attacker in a bespoke 4-4-2 formation.

Although the 1-1 result was not ideal and their partnership initially looked rusty, there were some promising signs that Lacezette can create chances for Benzema and offer France pace and trickery in the final third.

Benzema was born in Lyon and made his name with the Stade de Gerland outfit before moving to one of the biggest clubs in world football.

If Lacazette continues to improve and show the form that has fired him to the top of the Ligue 1 goalscoring charts it is only a matter of time before the starlet follows suit.

I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo,, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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