Euro 2012: spotlight on Gael Clichy
- Thu 07 Jun 2012, 4:31PM
- Posted by Mark Booth
The French full-back is faced with the daunting prospect of trying to displace Patrice Evra from the starting left-back slot but from the heart he’s shown this season, you’d back Gael to pull it off.
Ever since he arrived from Arsenal last summer, Gael Clichy has silenced over his harshest critics turning in eight out of ten performances week-in week-out to force his way back into Laurent Blanc’s Euro 2012 plans.
In the recent pre-tournament friendly with Serbia, Clichy showcased his lung power to get forward and join the French attack, curling in a measured cross that Franck Ribery was on hand to smash into the net.
It was good timing for Gael, too, with Patrice Evra struggling for form in the previous friendly against Iceland. Perhaps the stage is set for him to finally nail down a regular place for Les Bleus.
Gael started his career at Strasbourg and made a handful of appearances in his homeland before making the switch to Arsenal. His first Premier League title soon followed and he impressed as understudy to Ashley Cole.
Clichy made the left-back slot his own after Cole departed for Chelsea and quickly became one of the league’s most dependable and dangerous full-backs. There was a sense that he needed a new challenge last summer and that’s when City swooped to bring in the 26-year old.
After a taste of silverware with City, Clichy is hoping that the unsavoury events that derailed the French World Cup bid in 2010 are firmly in the past. Gael made one appearance at the tournament, in the final ill-fated group game against South Africa.
“The atmosphere is so good nobody is asking about what may go wrong - we all have the same vision,” he said after joining up with the squad.
“A few years ago, with players like Henry and Makelele, it was harder for the young players. They were 'the men' in French football, who had won the World Cup and the Euros and that, whether you like it or not, created a bit of a gulf.”
It’s a gulf that Clichy will be happy to wave adieu to, as they prepare to face England on June 11. You can see all of the action live from City Square, the only place you can watch England's Euro 2012 matches outdoors in Manchester.