Didier Deschamps has defended Patrice Evra following the Manchester United man's rousing half-time speech that helped inspire France to a come-from-behind win over Belarus in last week's World Cup qualifier.
With the team 1-0 down and disjointed at the break in Gomel last Tuesday, Evra, who started the game on the bench, spoke out in a bid to spur his team-mates to greater efforts in the second 45 minutes of the Group I encounter. Though Les Bleus fell behind once more having equalised, they scored three more times to secure a 4-2 triumph and at least second place in the section, synonymous with a play-off place for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Both Deschamps and Evra have come in for criticism over the matter with the national team boss portrayed as being weak and suspected of favouring a player whom he brought to prominence at Monaco in the early years of the millenium but he has hit back at those accusations.
"It's not something which goes against the role of the national team coach. Pat spoke up, like me, like other players. I don't understand that it can bother people, that someone who's a substitute gets himself involved," Deschamps told TF1, adding Evra's half-century of international appearances gave him the requisite stature to take a prominent role in the dressing-room.
"Being a leader in the French team is not something you can just become overnight. You need legitimacy, a past, experience, and of course it's those who have been there longest who have it. Evra is a leader. He's been a first-teamer at Manchester United for six years, and plays 60 games a season. If I pick him, it's not because I knew him at Monaco."