Football: French keeper in a fury

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The Independent Online
LIONEL CHARBONNIER, the Rangers goalkeeper, has walked out on the French national team. Charbonnier took exception to being named as deputy to the former West Ham keeper, Bernard Lama, for Saturday's Euro 2000 qualifier against Russia in Moscow.

With World Cup winner Fabien Barthez sidelined through injury, Charbonnier thought he would come in as replacement. The French coach, Roger Lemerre, however, decided otherwise, leaving an irate Charbonnier to claim: "The way you have handled the squad is all wrong."

Lemerre shrugged off the criticism and said he had already named a replacement.

"The competition here was-n't to his liking," Lemerre told reporters at the camp outside Paris. "He came to my room today to tell me the news."

Charbonnier was seen speeding out of the training camp in his grey Mercedes.

Lemerre immediately called up Metz's Lionel Letizi as cover, but did not say whether Charbonnier would be fined. Four days after meeting Russia, France play Andorra.

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