Didier Deschamps, manager of France, had to laugh it off when First Lady Brigitte Macron asked him to select a Reims player.

Last week, Deschamps and Mrs Macron were guests at a reception held at the Reims University Hospital. The Yellow Pieces Operation, whose foundation provides funding for initiatives that aid ill children and teens, organized the event.

There, attendees wanted to know whether Deschamps thought any of the Reims players had a shot at making the French national team. “I don’t have any players in Reims, but I look at the team like all the other French and foreign clubs. ‘It’s very good what’s happening here”, he said, via Champagne FM

With Will Still at the helm, one player, Junya Ito has emerged as a key cog for the sixth-place Ligue 1 team this season. That is why Brigitte Macron, the First Lady of France, has been gushing over him.

During the event, Brigitte even told the Deschamps that the winger deserved to be called up to the national squad.

‘There is a Japanese man who plays very well in Reims. He is very good. We must select him from the Didier team, why don’t you take him?’ Reportedly, Deschamps answered with a fit of laughter, exclaiming, “Well because he’s Japanese.”

Who is Junya Ito?

Actually, the 30-year-old is abroad at the Asian Cup representing Japan on the world stage. With 54 appearances for his nation, he has scored 13 goals. In addition, he was instrumental in Japan’s Asian Cup qualification, which they achieved despite a loss to Iraq.

Ito has also contributed to Reims’ success on the club level, with two goals and four assists in 17 games this term. Reims are now in a thrilling race for a UEFA Champions League position, only five points away.

What next for French national team?

Summer 2024 is quickly approaching, and the two-time UEFA European champions are already planning for the next big competition. On October 13, they defeated the Netherlands 2-1 to secure their qualification.

After advancing from their qualification group, France and the Netherlands will square off once again. Along with the playoff A winners and Austria, they sit in Group D. France will begin their 2024 Euro campaign in Duesseldorf against Austria.

Since 1988, Les Blues have never failed to appear in a European Championship Finals tournament. Didier Deschamps has coached Les Bleus since 2012, and the team most recently hosted the tournament in 2016 before losing to Portugal in the final.

For over a decade, they have been among the most powerful teams in soccer history. Their last European title was in 2000 when they lost the Euro 2016 final while hosting. However, they won the World Cup in 2018 and came close to regaining it in 2022.

With a qualifying group that doesn’t appear too bad, the French team is sure to be one of the favorites in Germany this summer. France are fortunate to have one of the world’s top players on their team, who is very gifted offensively.

After leading his nation to glory at the 2018 World Cup when he was only 19 years old, Kylian Mbbape is now captaining the team.

Photo credits: IMAGO / PanoramiC : IMAGO / AFLOSPORT.