Celtic striker Moussa Dembele may have been left out of the France senior squad but he gave Didier Deschamps food for thought with a hat-trick in just 12 minutes for the Under-21s against Slovenia last night.
Despite Slovenia taking the lead through Milan Tucic in the 21st minute, Dembele ran the show as France ended up 3-1 winners in Domzale.
The Celtic striker converted a penalty on 34 minutes and after Gal Primc was red-carded on 37 minutes, Dembele added a second from close range on 41 minutes and curled a wonderful effort past the ‘keeper for his and France’s third on the stroke of half time.
There were no goals in the second half as France secured the victory and remain top of their qualification table with five wins out of five. Slovenia sit in second place in the group.
Dembele’s Parkhead team-mate Olivier Ntcham was a second-half substitute for the Under-21s.
Dembele could have a hard time forcing himself into the senior set-up, despite his goalscoring exploits for the Under-21s.
France have an embarrassment of riches in attack, with the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Alexandre Lacazette, Kingsley Coman and Kylian Mbappe all pushing for starting berths, with Anthony Martial, Nabil Fekir and Florian Thauvin in contention as well.
And that’s without the injured Olivier Giroud, Marseille’s Dmitri Payet and Kevin Gameiro of Atletico Madrid.
That so many of his rivals are around the same age - or even younger in the case of Mbappe - could make it hard for Dembele but his seven goals in 10 appearances for the Under-21s, added to his five goals in 10 appearances for the Under-19s should stand him in good stead for the future.
However, there is hope for Dembele - his inclusion in the preliminary senior quad suggests a call-up may not be far off, and if he can keep up his current form for the Under-21s and Celtic, Deschamps may find it hard not to pick him for the national team.