Ribery aims to inspire France youngsters

The winger is eagerly anticipating this summer’s World Cup finals but has warned that his sides’ Group E opponents must not be taken lightly

Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery hopes to inspire France’s younger generation of players at this year’s World Cup in Brazil.

Les Bleus failed to survive the group stages at the 2010 World Cup after three dismal performances and off-the-field controversies, but Ribery is eager to set an example to the rest of Didier Deschamps’ squad this summer as they look to banish the memories of South Africa.

“I talk to the younger France players a lot, particularly the lads who haven’t been in that many squads,” Ribery told the official Fifa website.

“We represent a big country and the blue shirt can weigh heavy on the shoulders. There’s a lot of pressure and it’s not always easy to deal with. So I try to get the younger players in the best possible frame of mind.

“I’m not afraid of anything. I’m very strong mentally. I have a lot of character. I never give in – I always have the drive to keep going and to work hard to achieve my goals. You have to make the most of the experience and relish it.”

France will be pitted against Ecuador, Honduras and Switzerland in Group E and Ribery has stressed that they will have to be on top of their game if they are to reach the knockout stages.

“Maybe we didn’t get the most difficult group, but we absolutely cannot afford to take any of the other teams lightly. We have to stay focused.

“We will have to give it our best shot to get past the first round. It’s vital we do that.”

France start the World Cup with a match against Honduras on June 15.

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