Paul Mitchell: “Monaco have always developed players for the French national team”

Speaking exclusively to Monaco Life, AS Monaco Sporting Director Paul Mitchell has described the club’s pride at the latest call-ups for Benoît Badiashile and Youssouf Fofana. 

Should Badiashile and Fofana make their debuts for Didier Deschamps’ France, they will become the 70th and 71st Monaco players to have done so. Both have excelled for the Principality club this season, becoming displaceable elements in Philippe Clement’s side.

Keeping the talent factory operational

Whilst describing his pride at their call-ups, he also affirmed a commitment to continuing to produce international-level talent. “It is definitely a source of pride, not only for myself but for everyone who has been working tirelessly over the last couple of years to realign and re-engage a historic strategy,” he began. “Monaco has always been an organisation that has developed players for the French national team. I feel that with the hard work, the processes that have been put in place, and the conscious, daily focus to work with and develop young athletes, we’re seeing again the end product of all that hard work. So I’m extremely proud for the individuals themselves, and we’re working tirelessly behind the scenes to produce many, many more.”

As well as Badiashile and Fofana, Soungoutou Magassa, Jordan Semedo and Yann Liénard have also received call-ups to the France U20 squad. Given the youth-centred culture at AS Monaco and the tools at the club’s disposal, there is a hope that the club’s academy products, who continue to represent France at youth level, will one day make the senior side.

Stepping out of the shadows

Fofana has flourished since the departure of Aurélien Tchouaméni. Asked by Monaco Life’s Luke Entwistlewhether the former’s performances are now getting more recognition following the departure of the latter to Real Madrid, he replied, “I think Aurélien was rightly recognised for some really big and important performances with us last season, and maybe the shadow was cast too much over the quality of Youssouf’s performances for this club, not only last season but the season before.”

He continued, “I think he’s [Fofana] a consistent performer now. I know it was the opposite way at youth level: Youssouf was recognised quite often in the French national teams and Aurélien not so much. There has been an amplification of the quality of Aurélien’s performances, but I’ve always said there is a second actor in that midfield configuration, and I have to say on most matchday, there wasn’t much separating the two players in their performances, especially when the team has been at its best.”

A long-serving producer of players to the French national team, this current international break represents a continuation of a historic partnership that continues to showcase the very best of AS Monaco’s talent.


Photo by Luke Entwistle