Lebeouf: Start Giroud ahead of Benzema
World Cup winner Frank Lebeouf has told France coach Didier Deschamps that in-form Olivier Giroud should start France's friendly with Australia on Friday ahead of Karim Benzema.
Giroud, 27, has contributed four goals and two assists to Arsenal's flying start to the Premier League campaign while Benzema, 25, has scored twice and managed as many assists in La Liga for Real Madrid where he has come in for criticism from both the media and fans for his lacklustre displays.
The former Lyon forward's club problems extend to the international arena where he has not found the net since before Euro 2012, and after seeing Giroud spearhead a 4-2-3-1 formation in a 4-2 victory in September's World Cup qualifier in Belarus, Leboeuf told RMC the Arsenal striker should get Deschamps' vote of confidence at the Parc des Princes.
He said: "Didier Deschamps is refining his squad for the World Cup. I think there will still be the choice between Giroud and Benzema because I honestly think Giroud deserves a second chance especially when you see what he does with Arsenal where he scores goals and provides assists. If he starts up front, that would just be logical."
What appears certain is that both will not be on the pitch at kick-off in the French capital. Deschamps has only tentatively tried to use the pair as a strike partnership, an experiment which most recently failed to provide an effective solution in last month's disappointing goalless draw in Georgia.
Having initially favoured Benzema, the 1998 World Cup and Euro2000-winning captain told the media gathered at the squad's training base at Clairefontaine that former Montpellier man Giroud was now all but the equal of his rival.
"He has the ambition of playing," explained Deschamps in reference to Giroud on Monday. "The 23 that are here have to have that. The first step is to be called up, the second is to have the desire to be in the starting line-up. The hierarchy can evolve. One of the two will start on Friday. We'll start with one central striker. Two different profiles with different qualities, one or the other could start."