France v England. Cross-channel foes. The most dear enemies.
For all their negatives- the insistence on wearing Speedos, we’re looking at you- France have provided some truly merveilleux footballers.
But if you got 11 of the best French footballers from the Premier League and faced them off against 11 of the best French footballers from Ligue 1, who would win?
Let’s have a look at the evidence.
Hugo Lloris is a brilliant goalkeeper, but the lack of French alternatives, aside from Steve Mandanda, mean he’d get in the team even if he was distinctly average.
We’ve gone for a three at the back of Kurt Zouma, Mamdou Sakho and Laurent Koscielny, to make up for the lack of French full-backs in the Premier League.
Blame Man City for releasing Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna on the same day.
A midfield quartet of Morgan Schneiderlin, N’Golo Kante, Etienne Capoue and Paul Pogba provide minimal width but guarantee that nobody is going to score through the heart of the team.
But who’s going to score the goals? Anthony Martial, Olivier Giroud and Moussa Sissoko, that’s who.
Hopefully we’re getting the France Sissoko, who looks like he could genuinely run through a brick wall and still have the ball, rather than the Spurs Sissoko who wouldn’t frighten most Sunday League defences.
Alphonse Areola would be more of a threat to Lloris’ spot in the France team if he was able to get past Kevin Trapp at PSG, so for now he’ll have to make do with a place in Ligue 1’s France XI.
At full-backs there’s Monaco’s all-conquering Djibril Sidibe and Benjamin Mendy, though for how long they’ll remain in Ligue 1 remains to be seen.
Centre-backs Presnel Kimpembe and Malang Sarr have a combined age of just 39 but will probably demand at least that each in millions if they are to leave PSG and Nice this summer.
A French midfield typically displays pace, power, flair and arrogance.
Therefore we’ve got Thomas Lemar in for pace, Corentin Tolisso and Tiemoue Bakayoko for power and Dimitri Payet for flair and arrogance, in equal measures.
Up top there’s an electric partnership of Kylian Mbappe and Alexandre Lacazette who, again, may well be playing in a different league come the first game of next season.
What isn’t in doubt is that, wherever they end up, they’ll greatly improve their new sides. So who would come out on top between the two teams?
While we’re on the subject of brilliant French footballers…