Paul Pogba has been hailed as a “true leader” who is coming of age at the World Cup .
While the Manchester United midfielder has attracted fierce criticism at club level, he has already earned the respect of his France team-mates heading into Friday afternoon’s quarter-final clash with Uruguay.
Captain Hugo Lloris said: “I think he’s maturing, he’s growing. He’s accumulating experience, be it with Manchester United, Juventus – now he’s lining up more seasons, more caps.
“He’s starting to grow in the locker-room also and that is a good thing because he’s a true leader.
“He’s a very ambitious player. We all know he’s extremely talented and he has a lot to offer the team and his team-mates. I think that these big competitions are also good to reveal the talent of players and I’m sure it’s going to be the case for Paul.”
Uruguay could be without striker Edinson Cavani against the French due to a calf injury that forced him off in the round-of-16 win over Portugal.
The Paris Saint-Germain striker scored both goals in that win and Lloris admitted his threat is well known to the French camp.
“Cavani has been a historical figure for PSG,” Lloris added. “He’s scored so many goals. He’s a winner, he’s a leader, he’s very much respected in France as a player but also as a man because of his values.
“We’re getting ready for anything – whether he plays or does not. We know what he represents but we also know they have other players that could also play at a high level.
“It’s true that Cavani and Suarez are amongst the most beautiful attacking pairs on earth. Uruguay has a great team, very clear ideas about what they want to do. They are a very difficult team to handle and very strong on the counter regardless of who is playing up front.”
Meanwhile, France coach Dider Deschamps has insisted teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe will be able to cope with the massive media spotlight following his incredible display to sink Argentina.
The 19-year-old hit two scintillating goals in the epic 4-3 win to become the first teenager to score twice in a World Cup match since Pele.
“What he did against Argentina was very good. It put a spotlight on him obviously, and to play like that in such an important match made a name for him,” said Deschamps.
“He’s had time to digest this and I think he’s recovered just like the rest of the team. We’ve all had a few days to recover.
“On Sunday and Monday we savoured the victory, and from Tuesday we started focusing again.
“This is how top level sport is. But we must not now relax and think that everything is easy, that life is beautiful and that less effort is needed. But Kylian is smart, he’s listening and he knows all that.
“He’s only 19 but he’s gone from Monaco to PSG, where the demands have been different, and now at the World Cup they are even higher.
“Despite all the good things he’s doing, he’s only learning. That’s only natural. All players, regardless of their talent, at that age are learning.”
Deschamps has warned his players to be patient against what they expect to be a stubborn Uruguay.
“It’s a team with a very different profile to Argentina,” he said. “Extremely well-organised in defence and then very dangerous on the counter attacks. We’ll have to be really patient.’’