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Evra determined to inspire France's youth

"Believe in what you can achieve" is the message Patrice Evra gives young France fans, the 35-year-old telling EURO2016.com he is also setting an example to team-mates at the finals.

Evra determined to inspire France's youth
Evra determined to inspire France's youth ©Getty Images

I show Patrice Evra a photo I took of him smiling while holding a young child during Wednesday's public training session at Clairefontaine. The same broad grin appears and the left-back tells me: "That's a really nice photo. We love the fans, this is a natural photo and you can see that."

The 35-year-old continues: "When you sign autographs you see the kids and they're smiling. That's like a victory for us; you want to fight for them, to keep winning, to keep playing well. It was a special moment and I love those moments."

Does Evra have a message for those youthful supporters? "Yes, of course," he says. "Football is never easy. You can have the technique of Cristiano Ronaldo, or Messi, but the most important thing is that you believe in what you can achieve. I always give them that message.

"Yesterday I was signing an autograph for a young fan and as I was signing he said to me: 'You are my favourite player'. I said to him: 'I hope one day I will come to a training session with my son and you can sign an autograph for my son too'."

Evra names Iceland’s star players
Evra names Iceland’s star players

It's not only kids Evra is seeking to inspire, but also his younger team-mates such as Paul Pogba, 23, whom he's known since the midfielder was 16 and on Manchester United's books. Evra explains: "I want them be like 'Wow! He's 35, he's not complaining, he's playing hard, I should do better'. That's my way to give them the message."

Captain at Les Bleus' ill-fated 2010 FIFA World Cup campaign, Evra concurs with Antoine Griezmann that going out to Iceland in the quarter-finals would be tantamount to failure. "Yes I do agree with him," the Juventus left-back said.

"When I talk of failure, I see failure as being reaching the quarters as we did at the last World Cup. You always want to improve and improvement means making the semis."