Speaking in an interview , Liverpool and France defender Mamadou Sakho talks about his progression, being with the national team and more.
You missed the last French squad. You must be very happy to be at Clairefontaine this Monday.
Yes, I am happy to come back to the national team. With the coach at Liverpool [Jurgen Klopp], things have been going differently for me. In football, lots of things can happen off of the pitch. The most important thing is to remain concentrated, serious. The previous coach [Brendan Rodgers] made his choices. I accepted them. I have always remained myself, smiling in training.
Can you tell us about Jurgen Klopp?
He is a very human individual, very close to his players and all of the people at the club. He is very natural. When you look at him, you have the impression that he is very expressive but as he said to us from the start, it is not to be nasty to us. The opposite, it is to encourage us.
Before Klopp joined Liverpool, did you want to leave the club?
Honestly no. I have always felt good at Liverpool. When I was in France, I did not understand the real impact of this club, of its history. Once you step just one foot in here, it is fabulous.
The atmosphere is good. The team is young and talented. Honestly, I really enjoy this town, with the fans and the magnificent stadium. I am someone who likes stability, it suits me perfectly.
When we think about you in the French national team, we think about your two goals in the World Cup qualifiers against the Ukraine…
My answer is [he starts singing “Le Bilan” by Neg’Marrons]: “Time goes by and by and by and many things have changed.” That is life, you should not go back! It was a great moment for France, for the entire population but now we have to look to the future. Today, I am still hungry, I still want to grow, to give.
Where do you currently sit in the central defensive hierarchy?
I am very calm. I am ready. I am preparing myself as I should. I am paying attention to everything.
Do you want a starting spot?
We all want to play. The 23 players that are called up hope to start. We are competitors. The only person who will make the choices is the coach. We have to respect them.
Do you want Karim Benzema to be in the squad at the Euros?
These are delicate questions. I have my opinion. I would prefer not to express myself on that.
Should we focus solely on the footballing aspect or do we need to be irreproachable in order to be in the French national team?
That is a nice question! I do not know… I prefer not to talk about these subjects, even with my best friends. I do not like talking about other people.
Should Franck Ribéry return to the French national team?
That is up to the coach! I will not forget that he did a lot for France. He is behind the two goals that I scored against Ukraine. I will not forget that!