Antoine Griezmann’s selection for the France squad to play the Netherlands on Wednesday is one which is certainly deserved. Griezmann had been unavailable for selection by Deschamps until this most recent squad, as a result of disciplinary action for breaking a curfew on international duty with the Under 21 squad in November 2012.
Had that not been the case, Griezmann would have surely already made his debut for Les Bleus. The winger, who ply’s his trade in Spain with Real Sociedad has been particularly impressive this season, there have been rumours that Mourinho is a fan of the 22 year old and he has been linked with a move for the player.
So far this season, Griezmann has appeared in 24 games for Real Sociedad, 23 of which have been starts; that in itself indicates how important he has been to the team, there are just 2 games he hasn’t featured in this season.
Griezmann has scored 15 goals so far this season, the highest in the Sociedad team, and as many as Messi and Benzema. In fact only Ronaldo, Costa and Sanchez have scored more. His contribution is more important than those players though, he has scored 33% of Real Sociedad’s 46 goals so far this season and it’s his performances and goals which have helped propel them to 6th in the table.
Griezmann averages 3.3 shots per game, again the highest in the Real Sociedad team and joint 3rd highest in La Liga. The number of shots that he is having shows the level of confidence that the young man has and based on the goals that he has scored, it’s more than justified to have that confidence.
In terms of passing, Griezmann can offer plenty too. He’s provided 3 assists so far this season, and provides an average of one chance per game. When compared to Carlos Vela, who is often deployed on the opposite wing, these statistics are put into context. The former Arsenal man has 9 assists to his name, and has also managed 10 goals. Vela averages 2.2 chances created per game, sometimes Griezmann could pass the ball instead of going it alone.
Perhaps surprisingly, Griezmann supplies less than one (0.8) crosses per game, although that is becoming less of a part of the modern winger’s game, Griezmann favours cutting inside to going down the wing.
Defensively, Griezmann is no slouch either. He averages 1.9 tackles and 1 interception per game, the highest of any attacking player in the Real Sociedad squad. That defensive work rate could be beneficial to France, especially with the way both full backs like to push on, also defending from the front and high pressure is becoming more and more important in the modern game and with these statistics it’s not surprising he has attracted the attention of Mourinho as it is something he looks for in all his attacking players.
Griezmann is regularly deployed on the left at club level, allowing him to cut inside and use his stronger right foot. Unfortunately for Griezmann that’s the position occupied by Franck Ribery, arguably their best player. Whether that means Greizmann will play on the right is yet to be seen, if that is the case he would lose the ability to cut in on to his stronger foot, which is a big aspect of his game. It might be that he is used sparingly if he is taken to the World Cup, but he certainly deserves a chance to impress on the international stage.
Statistics courtesy of WhoScored
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