Mavuba: 'I always believed'
Following another strong showing for Les Bleus on Friday, Lille captain Rio Mavuba says he is thrilled to be back in the national team and ready to give his all against Belarus on Tuesday.
After making his international comeback in August's 0-0 friendly draw with Uruguay after a five-year gap, Mavuba took another step towards nailing down a starting place in coach Didier Deschamps' side with a solid display in the 1-0 win in Finland.
'Savouring each moment'
With a second World Cup qualifier on the cards against Belarus on Tuesday, the Lille midfielder is a fair bet to start, and even shorter odds to bring his rock-solid mentality to bear as Deschamps' men look to continue their positive start on the road to Brazil 2014 by making it two from two.
"I always believed I could make it back into the team, even during some pretty tough times," said the 28-year-old Lille skipper. "I told myself it would be tough, but I always believed. There was no reason to think it was impossible, especially while playing for a big club like Lille. I've always given myself the means to make it back and now I'm savouring each moment and making the most of it. Before I didn't really realise it, but now I'm aware of how much you can miss Les Bleus."
'I'm just myself'
Mavuba's return to Les Bleus has met with widespread approval from the France fans, and he admits that this gratifying reception will be a great help as Deschamps' men return to the Stade de France to take on Belarus.
"I get the feeling that there are people out there who support me, and that's always nice. I don't know how to explain it. I'm not playing any kind of role; I'm just myself," he explained before addressing the difficulties that France have had playing at their national stadium. "I don't know if the Stade de France is too big for Les Bleus, but I do get the feeling that it's easier to play away than at home. But there's no reason to think it's too big for us, and we'll do all we can to harness the support we’ve got and give them something to really cheer about."
A natural leader, Mavuba has been spoken about in connection with the France captain's armband, but he isn't about to get distracted from getting the job done by dreams of leading his country.
"It's way too early to talk about it. Hugo [Lloris] is a good captain and anyway, there are other more experienced players in line for the job. But if it happened, I would be incredibly proud," he said. "In all objectivity, I only have eight caps and I've just had one good game against Finland. First of all I need to establish myself in the squad and then play consistently. But the coach and his staff have shown a lot of faith in me, so I don't feel like my head's on the block all the time. So who knows?"