Didier Deschamps, France’s World Cup winning captain in 1998, had a disastrous start to his managerial career with the national side, losing five of his first six matches.
However, Deschamps, a strict disciplinarian, has since then built a more cohesive national side, a rarity in France. Not afraid to bite the bullet to maintain team harmony, the 45-year-old even dropped Samir Nasri, a disruptive element according to him, from the World Cup squad, despite strong public protest. “The most important thing when you go to a World Cup is not to pick the best 23 players but to pick the best squad. It’s not just about talent, it’s also about attitude,” the manager said.
Deschamps systematically has weeded out the egotistic senior professionals, handing caps to talented youngsters like Paul Pogba, Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann. Encouraging team activities, the manager has regularly taken the squad paint-balling or to the basketball courts and his team’s new found camaraderie has improved results too.