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Being small has encouraged France winger Mathieu Valbuena to use his head more, he believes.

Ahead of France’s encounter against Bosnia on Tuesday, Mathieu Valbuena has explained to France Football how his diminutive size has acted as an aid rather than a hindrance to his game.

Standing at just 167cm (5ft 6in), the Olympique de Marseille winger is not the typical build of a modern day footballer, though he believes this is a plus.

“I learned to make my height an asset rather than a handicap. My centre of gravity allows me to keep on my legs, to change direction quickly,” ‘Le Petit Velo’ explained, speaking of his days as a youth player. “When you feel that the priority of the guy in front is to get you to battle, you think about the play more.”

Valbuena also revealed that he has always had a burning passion to play for France, even at youth team level.
“When I was at the training centre in Bordeaux, our coach would distribute the invitations to the national team,” he remembered. “And I'd never get one. Sometimes I would leave the locker room because I felt the tears well up. I was crying but it was not jealousy. Not at all. Only the disappointment of not achieving the dream for which you fight.”

Fast forwarding to the present day, the 25-year-old has promised a great effort from les Bleus on Tuesday evening. “We will do everything to get something from our trip to Sarajevo,” he stated.

With only four caps to his name, Valbuena is looking to cement his place in Laurent Blanc’s future plans.

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