Debuchy: I am ready for Sagna competition

The Newcastle United full-back is relaxed about his status in Dider Deschamps’s squad despite competing with the Arsenal defender for a starting berth at the World Cup

France international Mathieu Debuchy says he is not worried by the threat of competition from Arsenal full-back Bacary Sagna at the World Cup.

The Newcastle United defender is expected to start his country’s friendly against Norway on Tuesday, but could face a fight for the right-back berth from Sagna.

With three friendlies to come between now and France’s World Cup opener against Honduras on June 15, Debuchy says he is simply focusing on his own performances rather than worrying about Sagna’s form. 

“You ask me how the competition is going, whether I think about playing, what I think of his game, but I’m focusing first of all on me,” he told L’Equipe

“I try to give my all. Bacary [does] too, then afterwards the coach will make his choice. In football, everything goes very fast.”

While Debuchy will come into the World Cup off the back of a disappointing few months at club level, Sagna ended Arsenal’s domestic campaign with an FA Cup winner’s medal.

The former Lille man feels certain criticism levelled at him since his move to St James’ Park has been unwarranted and that the style of play at Newcastle has hindered him on the international stage.

“I was a little frustrated [in my first season at Newcastle] because the coach asked me to stay back, while for France, the coach told me to stay high [up the pitch],” he explained. 

“If you do not go up enough, people will say that you do not bring enough offensively and if you go up too much, they will say that you are not calm defensively. 

“That’s why there will always be critics [but] I still have to make progress on some points.”

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