Didier Deschamps backs France’s young guns: Richard Buxton
Camavinga and Upamecano represent World Cup champions' quiet evolution ahead of Euro 2020
Didier Deschamps has never shied away from Eric Cantona's indelible put-down.
The collar-flipping maverick derided France's World Cup winning-captain as "the water carrier" during his playing career for being workmanlike and somewhat unspectacular.
Cantona continues to regularly snipe at Deschamps, accusing him of racial profiling and claiming in 2017 that the national side is run by an "accountant" rather than a visionary.
Just 13 months later, the bean counter led Les Bleus to international football's pinnacle. As the enfant terrible whines, Deschamps is still winning on his own terms.
Quiet evolution allowed the world champions to ascend their lofty pedestal in Russia two years ago and it continues apace ahead of their upcoming Nations League clashes.
Deschamps called up a trio of previously uncapped players for the double-header with Sweden and Croatia in Dayot Upamecano, Eduardo Camavinga and Houssem Aouar.
A positive Covid-19 test has sidelined Aouar little more than a fortnight after he helped Lyon reach the Champions League semi-finals but gifted Camavinga a chance to shine.
Paul Pogba's coronavirus-enforced absence has proven to be the 17-year-old's gain and could see him become France's youngest debutant since World War II.
Deschamps clearly sees traits of his former self in Camavinga; a player already firmly established in Rennes' starting line-up despite his tender years.
He is a tenacious tackler by nature, with no other Ligue 1 player matching his 107 challenges won last season.
More than that, he effectively utilises possession with a diverse passing range.
A superb solo effort in last weekend's win over Montpellier helped build on an already impressive stock which has seen Real Madrid recently emerge as a potential suitor for the teenager.
Upamecano, too, is attracting admiring glances from some of Europe's great and good after forcing his way into the most well-stocked backline in the international game.
Manchester United are set to test RB Leipzig's resolve with a 42 million-euro (S$68.2m) bid that is over 18 times what the defender would have cost them some five years earlier.
Broken promises back then mean that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will now have to break the bank to pair one of the continent's most promising centre-backs with Harry Maguire.
The Bundesliga outfit can literally name their price for Upamecano, with the Red Devils' valuation matching a release clause which comes into effect only from June 2021.
Old Trafford's top brass would still be foolish to miss out on signing the 21-year-old again.
Several marauding runs through Atletico Madrid's usually watertight midfield in the Champions League's last eight showcased what Upamecano will bring to the English Premier League.
For France, he offers a presence which more than rivals those on offer from seniors such as Raphael Varane, Lucas Hernandez, Presnel Kimpembe and Clement Lenglet.
A player who marries defensive nous with a willingness to attack will serve Deschamps well, both in the short term as well as his ultimate aim of going one better at Euro 2020.
Home humiliation four years ago has become the 51-year-old's cross to bear. Next summer's Finals afford a shot at redemption,with champions Portugal joining his side in Group F.
Avenging France's former tormentors, however, will not be enough for Deschamps unless it is done his way.
Unearthing and harnessing talents such as Camavinga and Upamecano are all part of the dual world champion's plan to finish what he started.