Olivier Giroud feels at home with France
Olivier Giroud believes his form for Arsenal this season has given him "credibility" within the French national team.
Giroud, 27, has struck four times and set up two goals in Arsenal's opening seven Premier League games to help the Gunners to the top of the table.
Although he arrived at the Emirates Stadium in 2012 having just won the Ligue 1 title with Montpellier and finished as the French top flight's leading scorer, the striker feels his club displays in England have elevated his status within the Les Bleus squad.
"When I played at Montpellier, I tip-toed in here, I was discovering it," Giroud told the press at France's training base just outside Paris. "Now I'm progressing, I'm taking steps forward. I have a different credibility being a striker at Arsenal where I'm scoring goals and playing in the Champions League. It's an advantage."
Seen as back-up to Karim Benzema when Didier Deschamps first took charge of the national side in the summer of 2012, Giroud's form led the France coach to talk about "an evolving hierarchy" with regard to his strikers last week.
Giroud scored twice in Friday's 6-0 friendly rout of Australia as he made his second successive start ahead of Benzema, who ended his lengthy international goalscoring drought after replacing the Arsenal man at the break.
Giroud's form means he is also likely to get Deschamps' approval to start against Finland in France's final 2014 World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.
And the former Montpellier player insists he has no problem with Benzema, despite a recent France Football interview in which Giroud had expressed his wish to play more for his country.
"I had underlined the fact that you don't ask for anything in the national side,” he said. “You mustn't confuse that with ambition. I don't want to look like someone who's asking for things or who isn't happy. I thought that it was legitimate to say that I wanted to play more.
“With Karim, we haven't spoken about it, we don't need to. There's no problem with him, and I'm happy he scored. I like our relationship."
Giroud added that it had not been too difficult to see Benzema given chance after chance to rediscover his form by Deschamps.
"I've been patient as I have been throughout my career. I'm proud of my behaviour, to have been patient,” he said. “But I don't suffer all that badly either. It wasn't never-ending, and I understand that Karim had more of an opportunity than others. He's very talented, I have no problem with that."