He has as many goals and assists as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo this season, more assists than Neymar, and he's French. Any ideas? Kylian Mbappe? No, quelle surprise, it's Eintracht Frankfurt's Sebastien Haller.

With 11 Ligue 1 strikes, Paris Saint-Germain's Mbappe does have more league goals than the Bundesliga's leading scorer, but add Haller's six top-flight assists to his nine strikes and the powerfully built forward has been involved in more goals than any of his FIFA World Cup-winning compatriots in 2018/19. Ooh la la, indeed.

"Send Didier Deschamps a message and ask him," replied Haller when questioned recently on how long it would be before he received — like Borussia Mönchengladbach's Alassane Plea — a call-up from the world champions due to his sizzling Bundesliga form. If the 24-year-old continues in his current vein, he won't require the media to act as a middle man — the France boss will be hearing him loud and clear as his stats will speak for themselves.

Watch: How Sebastien Haller helps his teammates and Frankfurt tick

Like the mild-mannered, spotlight-shunning Plea, Haller will let his feet — not his voice — stake his claim for a senior international place as he has already learned that — as his motto on his personal website reads — "hard work pays off". And he has had to work hard.

Fringe figure

After joining fabled French club Auxerre as a 13-year-old having battled through the debilitating growing pains of Osgood-Schlatter disease, he found himself a fringe figure at the second divison club where he actually played with Plea while the Gladbach man was trying to forge his own reputation on loan from Lyon in 2014.

Frustrated with his career going nowhere slowly, Haller's January 2015 loan move to Utrecht looked as much of a gamble for the modest Dutch club as it was the Frenchman, who — with just six goals in 50 Ligue 2 outings — was anything but the definition of 'prolific'.

That would change quickly in the Netherlands though as he was involved in 11 of his team's first 22 goals after his arrival — scoring eight. With 41 strikes in 82 Eredivisie games and 15 assists, it was little surprise Frankfurt had their heads turned come summer 2017 when they brought him to Germany.

Still waiting

Those figures had also attracted attention in his home country and earned Haller a recall to the French U21 side after he had been left out for almost 18 months following his debut under former Bayern Munich man Willy Sagnol in 2013. He returned with the bang of a hat-trick against Estonia, a game in which Bayern's Corentin Tolisso also scored.

But while Tolisso, and the likes of Manchester City's Benjamin Mendy, Manchester United's Anthony Martial and Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot — all of whom played with Haller as he rose through his country's junior national teams — have made the final step to Les Bleus, Haller is still waiting in the wings.

Corentin Tolisso's international career has moved forward while Haller's has stalled...for now © imago

"I know how things go," explained Haller, who with 20 U21 appearances has 19 more than Plea. "My time hasn't come yet. When I score more goals, then it will come. You have to earn the national team. The France team is one of the best in the world, they're world champions. It's really tough to get into this team, they have outstanding forwards, but I'll leave no stone unturned to get into their ranks."

Stiff competition

The competition is stiff with Plea called up when first Martial and then Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette were ruled out of France's November internationals. With Mbappe, Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann and Chelsea's Olivier Giroud enjoying a sizeable and understandable credit with Deschamps for their part in the World Cup success, Haller can be forgiven if he can't see much light at the end of a long and crowded tunnel.

But his sturdy 6'2" frame could help him jump that queue as his physique allied with the selflessness he shares with Giroud — eight years Haller's senior — makes him the readymade replacement for the former Montpellier and Arsenal man.

Are you Giroud in disguise? Haller's all-round game makes him a like-for-like replacement for the France and Chelsea forward © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

Lauded as much for his play for the team's winning cause as he was ridiculed for his failure to score in Russia, Giroud's presence as a fulcrum for the France attack around which Mbappe and Griezmann buzz so effectively has been a staple of Deschamps' six-year tenure.

By becoming only the third man to win the World Cup as a player and a coach, Deschamps has given himself job security that will extend at least to the end of his current contract in 2020 and most likely all the way to Qatar 2022, and potentially beyond, while he has already signalled the pragmatic style that took Les Bleus to the summit of the game is here to stay.

Trezeguet comparison

With Giroud struggling for a spot in Maurizio Sarri's Chelsea line-up as he battles for a place with Alvaro Morata, Deschamps will need a match-ready forward: et voila Sebastien Haller!

An iron-clad first-teamer who has proven his ability to gel with Ante Rebic and Luka Jovic, two forwards not dissimilar in style to Griezmann and Mbappe, Haller is the prime candidate given he has both the frame and the game to be a Giroud doppelgänger after learning that being a striker is not all about strike rate.

"I was compared to [David] Trezeguet at Auxerre, because I didn't like defending. I just wanted to be a 'fox in the box' and wait for some balls to come by," he explained. "When I grew up, I understood that you also had to get your hands dirty to help the team with other things."

Watch: Sebastien Haller's 2017 Bundesliga Goal of the Year

And though he could qualify to play for Cote d'Ivoire through his Ivorian mother and wear the same shirt as his role model Didier Drogba, Deschamps need not worry about Haller having the je t'aime moi non plus - the love-hate - attitude to the country of his birth that has seen many other dual national players opt out.

"I have a lot of links with Cote d'Ivoire, but it was obvious for me to choose France," said the Frankfurt goalgetter, who grew up in Ris-Orangis in the Paris suburbs and whose youth club in nearby Bretigny was also where France internationals Patrice Evra and Jeremy Menez, as well as former Bayern man Medhi Benatia, played.

"It was a natural choice. It's the country that adopted my mother, so there was no hesitation." So it seems the only one waiting now is you, Monsieur Deschamps…

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