Olivier Giroud: France striker debates ‘a bit tedious’ but keep me focused

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Olivier Giroud’s world-class strike opened the scoring for France in their World Cup qualifier against Sweden.
France coach Didier Deschamps praises Olivier Giroud’s ability and dismisses those who have been critical of the striker.

France international Olivier Giroud has said fan debates about whether he is the right man to lead the line have become “a bit tedious.”

Arsenal forward Giroud — who has six goals in his past four internationals — is set to face England in a friendly in Paris on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old said proving doubters wrong had been “the story of my career” after scoring a spectacular goal against Sweden in a World Cup qualifying defeat on Friday.

“To be honest with you, it’s a bit tedious. People have always questioned me over the years,” he said.

“It does get to you after a while, especially because you’re doing the job on the field. But this is what also helps me to stay alert and focused on what I have to do.

“I’m not really asking myself any questions about how popular I am. The pseudo-debates don’t really capture all of my attention, to be honest.”

Giroud has scored 27 goals in 63 international games but has faced a hostile reception from sections of the France crowd at times and was jeered in a friendly last year.

A goal against England would move him up to seventh place in the all-time list of France scorers and he said: “Obviously a forward is judged on what he brings to the side, how he is involved in the game, but a striker is also there to finish.

“I have to put it away and I’m doing that. I have a good ratio, and I hope to keep climbing up the hierarchy.”

Speaking last month, Deschamps said he was happy to put his faith in Giroud as France’s attacking focal point.

He said: “With us, he is our goal scorer. Olivier knows what he is capable of, and he knows I have confidence in him.”

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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