A regular for Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham this season, midfielder Moussa Sissoko is however fighting for a place in Didier Deschamps France plans for the World Cup in Russia.
As a fans’ favourite the 28-year-old from a tough Parisian suburb heard his name ring out in stadiums across France during Euro 2016, but after a transfer and tricky first season at Tottenham, his star seemed on the wane.
He played 16 times for France in 2016, but only three times the following year after his transfer from Newcastle to Spurs.
“It’s the coach’s choice and you just have to take it,” Sissoko told AFP in from the Parisian suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois, where Sissoko was attending a youth tournament.
“I had a difficult start to last season at Tottenham due to a late transfer and not getting in much training.
“This season it’s much better, I’ve played a lot, successive matches. We’re well placed in the league, we’re still in the Champions League.
“It’s going to be an interesting run-in, with lots to go for.
“I’m doing to do everything I can to achieve them and hopefully book a ticket to Russia.”
He added: “It is the biggest competition there is for a sportsman, it’s unique. I was lucky enough to go to one in the footballing country that is Brazil. It went very well and I hope I’ll be lucky enough to relive a World Cup this year.”
France handler Deschamps is known to like collectively-minded players with a strong attention to the small details, and Sissoko has earned a reputation as being one of his favourites.
“I’ve heard it said a lot,” admitted Sissoko, whose coaches often praise his box-to-box style and the balance it brings.
“But honestly I don’t pay attention. I just try and do my job. The boss makes the decisions.”
Deschamps has plenty of talented players to choose from in midfield with Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante, Manchester United’s Paul Pogba or Blaise Matuidi of Juventus all providing competition for Sissoko.
And since Euro 2016, two other young midfielder’s in PSG’s Adrien Rabiot and Bayern Munich’s Corentin Tolisso have staked their claims.
“It’s very healthy competition. There’s going to be a very strong France team,” said Sissoko. “The more good players we have, the further we’ll go into the competition.”