Deschamps urges Benzema to ‘be himself’ for France

The coach has said that the Madrid striker’s role in the team will not change because of Ribery’s injury as it is important he feels natural

France coach Didier Deschamps has asked striker Karim Benzema to “be himself” when he plays for his nation at the World Cup.

The Real Madrid striker played an important role as the Spanish giants claimed their 10th European Cup this season, though he has rarely hit such heights with the national team.

There is, however, a fresh weight of expectation on the former Lyon star’s shoulders following the news that Franck Ribery will miss the trip to Brazil due to back problems.

“It would serve no purpose to ask more of Karim,” Deschamps told the media ahead of Sunday’s friendly against Jamaica. “When you are trying to score at all costs, any player can lose some of their natural instinct.

“He must play like he can do and does at Real Madrid. You know Karim; when he scores he is very happy.

“I just want him to be himself. When he is at the peak of his abilities, of course he is a player who pulls the whole team up.”

Benzema has not featured in either of France’s two previous warm up games for the World Cup due to his participation with Madrid in the Champions League final, but has enjoyed strong form with Les Bleus in recent games, scoring in four of his last five outings.

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