Giroud plays down retirement talks
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Olivier Giroud says he has no intention of retiring from international football and says he is ready to contribute to the French team when called upon.
Since making his international debut while at Montpellier in 2011, Giroud has gone on to play 109 times for his country, scoring 46 goals.
He has been a mainstay of the current French golden era and played a big role in helping Les Bleus win the World Cup in Russia three years ago.
However, Real Madrid front man Karim Benzema was handed a surprise recall to the France squad on the eve of the European Championship by boss Didier Deschamps following a five-year absence from international duty.
That has pushed Giroud down the pecking order as he has started the first two group games on the bench and is likely to remain there for France’s third group game against Portugal on Wednesday.
Even though his tournament has so far only been limited to a quarter-of-an-hour cameo appearance against Hungary in France’s 1-1 draw on Saturday, the Chelsea striker says he is not yet ready to give up on the national team.
The 34-year-old told Le Figaro: “I’m not finished, far from it. Count on me, grandpa is not dead!
“I’m almost 35 but have the hunger of a 20-year-old guy.”
With Benzema playing up top, supported by Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann, a role in the starting XI seems an unlikely prospect for Giroud.
However, Deschamps threw him on against Hungary to try and grab a winning goal and the former Arsenal man says he still has a lot to offer the national team in the form of a Plan B.
“The France team has a fairly incredible strike force, but I have a card to play because there are no other players with my profile,” he continued. “I am here to respond and bring what I want.
“I know how to do it with the team. I have the desire and, if the young people want to move me, they will have to be ready too.”
Giroud came into the Euros on the back of a pretty sparse season at club level.
He only made 17 appearances in the Premier League in total last term, scoring four goals, with former boss Frank Lampard opting to go with Tammy Abraham and current boss Thomas Tuchel preferring Timo Werner.
In the Champions League, Giroud remained an unused substitute as Chelsea defeated Manchester City 1-0 to lift their second European Cup in the space of a decade.
Several reports have suggested Giroud could be on his way out of Stamford Bridge this summer but the club activated a one-year extension on his current deal which suggests he may still have a future in the Premier League.
Now though, his focus will be on France’s game against Portugal in what is a repeat of the Euro 2016 final.
A win would see France go through to the round of 16 as group winners, where they would be in line to face whoever finishes third in either Group A or Group C.
Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele will miss the game and the rest of the tournament after hobbling off against Hungary with a knee injury but, otherwise, everyone else is fit to play.