Squad snub prompts online rant from girlfriend

Squad snub prompts online rant from girlfriend
The France coach's refusal to select Samir Nasri for this summer's World Cup campaign was met with a volley of foul-mouthed abuse - from Nasri's girlfriend.

If Roy Hodgson thought he had problems when he dared to leave Ashley Cole out of the England squad, he should speak to Didier Deschamps.

The France coach's refusal to select Samir Nasri for this summer's World Cup campaign was met with a volley of foul-mouthed abuse - from Nasri's girlfriend.

Anara Atanes was on Twitter within minutes of the news breaking to give her verdict on Deschamps.

"F*** France!" she raged.

"And f*** Deschamps! What a s*** manager!"

While few other voices have been quite so passionate, it's certainly a surprise that Nasri has failed to make the cut.

The 26-year-old is at the peak of his powers and, though, he hasn't been given the credit he deserves by the media, he was one of the principal reasons for Manchester City's Premier League success.

Abject last season under the authoritarian rule of Roberto Mancini, the arrival of Manuel Pellegrini seemed to reinvigorate him. His spark re-ignited, he was able to impress himself upon games and drive the team forward.

No one has ever doubted his technical ability, he has always been a talented playmaker but, when his attitude is right, he's one of the most effective, creative players in the division.

"I think the die is cast," said Nasri.

"I respect Deschamps' choice. I'll watch the World Cup on TV. If starting games at a club like Man City and winning two titles aren't enough, then too bad. I won't regret anything."

ATTITUDE

Deschamps, however, was concerned about what happens when his attitude is wrong.

"Samir is an important player for Man City," he explained, "but he has not performed that well with France.

"He is a starter at City, which is not the case with France and he has made it clear that he is not happy when he is not a starter.

"I can tell you, it can be felt in the squad. I built the best squad. I did not pick the 23 best French players."

Scathing stuff and augmented nicely by rumours in the French press that a delegation of players, including three Arsenal players, approached Deschamps recently and begged him not to take Nasri to Brazil.

But Deschamps is not just guided by his players.

He is guided by history. In 2010, the French side tore themselves apart in South Africa, openly brawling on the training field, shouting down manager Raymond Domenech in the dressing room and refusing to train before their inevitable group stage elimination.

"The France team had just crucified themselves, in public, on television," said Domenech two years later.

"Maybe the players realised it, maybe they didn't. Anyway, it was too late. The infernal machine had started up and was dragging all of Les Bleus to the abyss."

The French supporters, humiliated by their players that summer, have only just forgiven the team for that display of petulance. Deschamps has no intention of allowing a repeat performance.

Poor Nasri wasn't selected for that squad either, so he can hardly be blamed for what happened.

But, with almost all of the players blamed by Domenech for 2010 now retired from international football (Franck Ribery remains in place), it's clear that Deschamps refuses to take unnecessary chances.

He wants a balanced, happy squad, not one with unhappy players complaining about team selection.

You can criticise Deschamps for his decision, as Atanes did, but you have to respect the courage of his convictions.

He knows that France's only chance of success this summer is to be more than the sum of their parts. And they can't do that if there are rogue elements in the squad.

Nasri has plenty to ponder this summer.

This article was published on May 15 in The New Paper.

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