Montpellier playmaker Téji Savanier's two-goal haul in the win over Lyon on Tuesday night has his coach and teammates alike wondering when he will be called up to Didier Deschamps' France squad.
After starring in Montpellier's Round 3 beating of then-league leaders Nice 3-1 on Saturday, home-town hero Savanier was at it again as Lyon came calling for their postponed Round 1 clash at the Stade de la Mosson on Tuesday, scoring both goals in the 2-1 win.
Laborde: 'He is an exceptional player'
First with a wicked shot low into the bottom corner and then with a real soufflé of a panenka that left wrong-footedOL 'keeper Anthony Lopes with plenty of time to turn and watch the ball sail into the back of the net.
"We see him every day in training, the level he has, so tonight's performance didn't necessarily surprise us," said Montpellier striker Gaëtan Laborde after the match. "I think he is world class. He has so much quality and I think he still has more to show. He is an exceptional player and we are really lucky to have him. I think one day we'll see him get a call-up to the France squad. I hope so for him, in any case."
Fitness paying off
Savanier, a native of Montpellier, has played for a number of teams on the Mediterranean coast so far in his career, but rose to prominence with a fearless Nîmes Olympique side that impressed all and sundry in their first season back among the elite in 2018-19. He returned to his home town on a club-record transfer the following season, but circumstances conspired to keep him from his best. Not this season, however.
"His preparation has made the difference," explained Laborde. "Last year he arrived injured and had a hard time coming back. Now he has had a very good pre-season, and when he is physically ready, this is what it looks like."
Der Zakarian: 'Be consistent'
The current France squad is well stocked in terms of attacking talent - notably with Antoine Griezmann occupying the playmaking role on a regular basis - and Montpellier boss Michel Der Zakarian has opted to remain zen on the topic of his talented charge's ascension to international level.
"I don't know, we have to let him continue to perform well, to be consistent in what he does," said Der Zakarian. "If it's meant to happen, it will happen."