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Friday 18 August 2017

Hugo Lloris: France's new generation stars are ready for the 'best level'

Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has been bowled over by the talent in the France ranks
Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has been bowled over by the talent in the France ranks

Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has no doubt Kylian Mbappe, Thomas Lemar and the rest of France's "fantastic" new generation would flourish in the Premier League.

England were torn apart by the dynamic French attack on Tuesday evening, when Raphael Varane's video-assisted sending-off at the start of the second half surely prevented the victory margin being greater than 3-2.

Ousmane Dembele, the 20-year-old Borussia Dortmund forward, capped a fine performance with the winning goal, which was set up by outrageously talented 18-year-old Mbappe.

The striker continues to be linked with a big-money exit from Monaco - as does team-mate Lemar, with Tottenham said to be among those interested in the attacking midfielder.

Lloris grinned when asked if he had spoken to Lemar about Spurs, saying: "You are right to ask the question, but I cannot reply."

And the France captain is enthralled by the potential of his young compatriots.

"The Premier League is very exciting," Lloris said. "All the Premier League clubs have the capacity and the ability to bring the best players in the world.

"In France we used to have a lot of talented players, and it's true that the new generation are fantastic, but we need to give them time to get the right maturity.

"But as they showed (on Tuesday), they are ready to compete at the best level. Let's see what will happen in the Premier League."

France boast such attacking strength in depth that the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Dimitri Payet and Alexandre Lacazette were unused substitutes against England.

They were able to call on the world's most expensive player, though, and Paul Pogba shone after a season of scrutiny at Manchester United.

"Maybe he had some things to prove because he belongs to one of the best clubs in the world and he plays in the Premier League, and he has to show his level," Lloris said.

"(On Tuesday) he was fantastic as a midfielder, he helped the team a lot to manage the ball.

"I have no doubt that he will get better and better."

The same surely goes for the Les Bleus as a collective, putting them among the favourites for next summer's World Cup.

An uncharacteristic Lloris mistake allowed Sweden to win and usurp them at the top of their qualification group on Friday, but with such exciting, young attackers few expect them to falter in their quest to reach Russia.

"We have a lot of players who are very unpredictable, because in one versus one they can make the difference," Lloris added.

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