Camavinga pinching himself after France call-up: 'I'm still a child!'

By Ryan Benson 2 September 2020 3
Camavinga pinching himself after France call-up: 'I'm still a child!'

Eduardo Camavinga is stunned to have been called up to France's senior squad so early in his career as he still sees himself as a child.

The Rennes midfielder, 17, made his breakthrough at club level in the 2018-19 season when he was barely 16 and his development since then has been impressive.

Reportedly tracked by many of the world's biggest clubs, the technically gifted playmaker made 36 first-team appearances for Rennes last season despite his tender age.

Camavinga played in both of Rennes' first two matches of the new campaign and scored a brilliant – and decisive – goal in Saturday's 2-1 win over Montpellier.

He received his maiden call-up last week after Paul Pogba's coronavirus diagnosis was confirmed and will be the youngest player to represent France since World War Two if he features against Sweden or Croatia in the Nations League.

When asked what it would mean to him if he played in either game, he told reporters: "It would be fabulous for me, for my family.

"It's a childhood dream, even though I'm still a child! It was important to them [his parents] that I represent my country, it was important for me too. It's something I've wanted since I was a kid."

Camavinga was born in Angola to Congolese parents before moving to France when he was just two.

Featuring for France, he says, had always been a desire of his and he feels well-received by the squad.

"I had a very good reception," he added. "The meeting with the players was very good. Everyone has been cool with me and I hope it will continue.

"I started very early in Ligue 1. Any player hopes to play with his [international] selection one day. It happened early for me, but I want to enjoy every moment."

Didier Deschamps has rarely shied away from giving young players a chance in his France side, with Kylian Mbappe's emergence a prime example of a youthful star being prominent for Les Bleus.

Camavinga acknowledged the Paris Saint-Germain forward's story might put a little extra pressure on him, but he prefers to see Mbappe as an inspiration.

He said: "Kylian has set the bar very high, but it's a source of inspiration for all young players for sure."

He holds Pogba in similarly high regard, adding: "I'm inspired by Paul Pogba. He's a very good player with great qualities.

"He proved it in the French team, just see what he did – he's a world champion. But I don't really like comparisons."

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Ryan Benson