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French coach rules out benching Super Eagles star

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The Nigeria international has been prolific since the start of the new season, scoring goals for fun and seemingly at will

Girondins Bordeaux coach David Guion has ruled out the possibility of leaving Nigerian forward Josh Maja out of his starting eleven.

Guion is a big fan of the 4-4-2 formation, but the tactician ditched his preferred set-up for the 4-3-3 this season at Bordeaux.

It has worked to great effect, with Les Girondins amassing 17 points from nine matches and sitting in third place in Ligue 2, two points behind leaders Sochaux.

One-cap Super Eagles forward Josh Maja has been the star for Bordeaux, contributing five goals and two assists.

Maja’s brilliance has reduced the impact of fan favourite Aliou Badji, with the Senegalese striker making only two appearances so far this term.

There are growing calls for Guion to bench Maja or play the Nigerian together with Badji.

But the French tactician insists he has no interest in relegating Maja and that a lack of option makes a 4-4-2 practically impossible.

“Even me, I want to see Josh Maja with Aliou Badji,” Guion said, as per Girondins33.

“But there is a team balance to be respected and we also need to have weapons during the match. If I switch to a 4-4-2 pattern, on the bench, there won’t be a striker. It can be a weapon because it brings a lot of impact, but it means that we will have to have two different midfielders.

“In this case, the balance has been found with the full-backs. It’s all about balance and animation that you have to work on. When you want to play with two centre-forwards and two wingers, you need at least two to three boys on the bench to be able to impact. Today, we may not have this quantity. These are things to work on.”

Maja is in his fourth season at Maja, having joined Les Girondins from Sunderland in January 2019.

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