Blanc recalls Saha but says Toulalan is 'not essential'

The new France coach, Laurent Blanc, has high hopes for Everton striker Louis Saha in next month's Euro 2012 qualifiers but was yesterday forced to defend his decision to omit Jérémy Toulalan from his 21-man squad.

The fall-out from the team's lamentable performance at the World Cup in South Africa led to new coach Blanc suspending all 23 members of the squad from his selection for the friendly defeat against Norway in Oslo this month.

Saha, who was selected in February by former France coach Raymond Domenech for the first time since November 2006 but later had to withdraw through injury, and Lorient forward Kevin Gameiro will get their chance against Belarus on 3 September and Bosnia-Herzegovina four days later.

"Louis Saha is a boy who I always liked," said Blanc. "But he has often had physical problems. If he can string together a season without injury he is the top.

"Kevin Gameiro is an interesting player . He will create chances to score and he offers interesting solutions. But the France team is another thing to Ligue 1 level."

Patrice Evra and Franck Ribéry are absent after receiving bans of five and three matches respectively from the French Football Federation's disciplinary committee after the World Cup.

There is no place either for Toulalan, who must serve a one-match ban imposed for his part in the South Africa debacle but is available for the second match against Bosnia-Herzegovina. His Lyons coach Claude Puel had decided to convert him from midfield to central defence and Blanc said: "For now, he is not essential. He is not the best at that position in France."

Blanc has only called on 21 players, opting to leave out numerous big names including Marseilles winger Hatem Ben Arfa, Barcelona full-back Eric Abidal and Tottenham's new signing William Gallas. Nine players on duty in South Africa were recalled by Blanc – goalkeepers Hugo Lloris, Steve Mandanda and Cédric Carrasso, Arsenal trio Gaël Clichy, Bacary Sagna and Abou Diaby, Chelsea midfielder Florent Malouda, Bordeaux's Alou Diarra and Marseille's Mathieu Valbuena.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones