Newcastle United’s French legion are facing the biggest season of their careers – for club and country.
That’s the verdict of Moussa Sissoko, who was a 90th minute substitute in France’s 2-1 friendly win against Serbia in Paris last night.
At the end of the season we have the Euros in France. But I need to play well this year with my team first.Moussa Sissoko
The midfielder is desperate to make Didier Deschamps’s squad for Euro 2016, which is being staged in his homeland.
And Sissoko – who was not allowed to leave St James’s Park in the summer transfer window – knows he must perform for his club if he is to keep his place in Deschamps’ starting XI.
United new boy Florian Thauvin, capped at Under-21 level, also has an outside chance of forcing his way into Deschamps’ plans.
“At the end of the season we have the Euros in France,” said 26-year-old Sissoko, who will now return to Tyneside to prepare for Newcastle’s game at West Ham United on September 14.
“But I need to play well this year with my team first.
“When I go with the national team, I try to do my best and show what I can do.
“I hope to be in the squad for the Euros. It’s in France. Everyone wants the cup. It’s not easy – a lot of French players want to be in the squad.
“We have to show some good things on the pitch. It’s going to be a hard decision for the manager to pick the 23 players. I will do my best, and I hope to be in the squad.”
Sissoko is a regular started under Deschamps, whose side did not have to qualify for the tournament as hosts.
Winger Thauvin, signed from Olympique Marseille in the summer, has not been capped at senior level.
The 22-year-old made his full Premier League debut for United before the international break.
Thauvin – who had scored one goal and set up three more on his first appearance for the club in the Capital One Cup against Northampton Town last month – cost a reported £12million.
In last night’s game, France won thanks to two goals from Blaise Matuidi, with Newcastle striker Aleksander Mitrovic pulling one back for Serbia.