France manager Didier Deschamps defends Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema
© PA Photos
Didier Deschamps insists that Karim Benzema is a player that can make the difference for France, dismissing criticism of the striker's performances at international level.

Didier Deschamps has leapt to the defence of star striker Karim Benzema as France prepare to play Spain on Tuesday.

France take on the reigning world and European Champions in Madrid tomorrow night in a showpiece World Cup qualifier.

Deschamps told reporters that he thinks criticism of Benzema's performances for Les Blues are unfair and backed the Real Madrid man to deliver for his side.

The France manager said: "I spoke with Karim. If you question his potential, it must be at the heart of a season.

"This is not a player who remains in the box. He does not have these qualities. Is he too lonely in attack? Vicente del Bosque has invented 4-6-0, this does not prevent the Spanish team from being effective. This is not the problem.

"Everyone always expects a lot from him and Franck Ribery. These are great players who can take the team to the top. They have this quality, talent to make a difference."

Benzema has struggled to replicate his superb club form at international level, with his performances at Euro 2012 drawing negative criticism from the French press.

Cesc Fabregas
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