Once a regular in the France squad, Mamadou Sakho has struggled to convince Didier Deschamps of late.
The centre-back’s game time over the course of the season has been sporadic, and even when he played a lot last year before a meniscus issue, his last cap does date back to November 2018.
Still, the 30-year-old, who is currently out with a thigh injury and has featured just eight times under Roy Hodgson this season, hasn’t given up on Deschamps calling him back, even if he is fully aware the competition for a spot is getting tougher and tougher.
Players like Clément Lenglet and even Kurt Zouma are ahead of him in the pecking order, but the Crystal Palace man remains optimistic.
Speaking to RMC Sport at the “Gouter des Étoiles”, an event organised by the defender’s charity to build an orphanage in Senegal, he said: “The France national team is the Holy Grail for any player. When you’ve got the chance of being part of that team, it’s exceptional. Above that, it’s just sunshine.
“I had the chance to be a part of that. I still do. Before my injury I was called back twice. Don’t forget I’m only 30. It’s completely normal [to not give up] when you’re ambitious. I’ve always been like that and I always will be. I look at everyone in the eyes with my head held high and my chest out. When I have a goal, I work to get there”.
While it seems unlikely that Sakho will be called up for the 2020 Euros, he still has the chance, if things go well for him at club level, to try and turn things around for the 2022 World Cup.
He’ll only be 32 at that point, and if he stands out above the rest, there would be no reason for Deschamps, or whoever is France’s manager, to overlook him.