Didier Deschamps 'totally secure' in France job, despite Zinedine Zidane speculation

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Zinedine Zidane (r) and Didier Deschamps (l).

French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet has declared head coach Didier Deschamps should feel “totally secure” in his position, despite the fresh availability of Zinedine Zidane.

Zidane, 45, stunningly resigned from Real Madrid last week after he lifted a third-successive Champions League title. This has caused speculation that a poor World Cup 2018 campaign for his fellow World Cup 1998 and Euro 2000 winner could lead to the sack.

But speaking to RMC, Le Graet confirmed Les Bleus plan to honour Deschamps’ contract that runs out after Euro 2020.

He said: “Zidane can sign in Juventus tomorrow, I don’t know anything. You were surprised, me too, but don’t create a debate [about] ‘Didier-Zizou’, it’s not serious.

“We start the World Cup with Didier. He signed a contract at least until 2020. And fortunately.

“Imagine if I didn’t do that… It’s better to be totally secure, the problem is not there now.”

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Nigeria World Cup kit is a sell-out with fans as players wear new strip during England friendly

David Cooper 3/06/2018
Nigeria's kit is already being called the best of the World Cup shirts.

Nigeria’s kit for the World Cup has been rated among the best of the strips that will be on show in Russia this summer – and the fans certainly agree.

Both home and away shirts sold out within three minutes of them being made available online, while fans queued up outside Nike’s flagship store in London to get their hands on the new kit.

The green and white jersey features a feathered pattern in homage to the Super Eagles team from 1994, when Nigeria made their World Cup debut.

Despite the kit only officially being released on Friday, copycat versions had been spotted in markets of Nigeria’s capital, Lagos, one week ago, with demand from fans underlining the popularity of the new design.

Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi and Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi were among the stars who modelled the kit for its launch in February. The team debuted the kit on Saturday for their World Cup warm-up friendly against England.

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Jordan Pickford set to be England's No.1 for World Cup, reveals Gareth Southgate

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Pickford looks to have won the race to be England's starting goalkeeper.

Gareth Southgate dropped a heavy hint that Jordan Pickford will be England’s World Cup number one by selecting him for the victory over Nigeria, but declined to publicly settle the issue with one more friendly to go.

Southgate has yet to reveal whether Pickford or Jack Butland will be his first-choice goalkeeper in Russia but the scales tipped heavily in the Everton man’s favour as he was given 90 minutes in the 2-1 win at Wembley.

That was only Pickford’s third senior cap, meaning another outing would surely be beneficial if he is to don the gloves against Tunisia on June 18.

But when invited to put the issue to bed he demurred, opening a slim chance for Butland to play the final warm-up fixture at Elland Road on Thursday.

“We’ll give consideration to who plays in goal against Costa Rica over the next 24 or 36 hours,” he said.

“But I was really pleased with what Jordan did. Normally, when you play for England, there’s not an awful lot of opportunity to produce a lot of saves. But his decision making on crosses, the punch he made, his distribution and calmness to slide passes into midfield… that was really important to the way we want to play.

He can be very pleased with his performance.”

Barring a late change of heart, that endorsement should see the 24-year-old start his first competitive England match in the Group G opener in Volgograd.

Another player who did his chances no harm at all was Tottenham‘s Kieran Trippier.

He only emerged as a starter at right wing-back when Southgate decided to utilise first choice Kyle Walker as part of a central three in March.

The selection of the uncapped but precocious Trent Alexander-Arnold means he has fresh competition too, but his corner provided the opening goal for Gary Cahill on Saturday, moments after testing the keeper with a sharp free-kick.

Those at Spurs have long been aware of Trippier’s crossing skills and corner-taking prowess and they could yet be important in the Three Lions’ World Cup bid.

“His quality on the ball is outstanding,” said Southgate.

“There were two set-plays, the one just before the goal – a free-kick bang on the money – then the corner for Gary.

“It was a great delivery. But we also know his quality on the ball when he’s in the final third.

“Kieran has outstanding quality and that kind of profile in that position is very important.”

England would be content if they kick off their campaign with an identical result against Tunisia, but Southgate was quick to stress that the game was not scheduled as a direct dress rehearsal.

“We didn’t choose this game to replicate exactly what Tunisia would do,” he said.

“We play most of our matches against European teams, so this was a good opportunity to play an African team.

“Tunisia play different to the style of play to Nigeria. They keep the ball very well and press very well. They’re ranked one place below us in the rankings. We’ll have to be spot on in our preparation and performance to win.”

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