Domenech struggles to fight off French revolution over Henry

The France manager, Raymond Domenech, is facing a revolt from within his squad, the players demanding that he reinstate Thierry Henry for their opening World Cup fixture against Uruguay.

Henry, who is being urged by his family to finish his career at Marseilles rather than accept a lucrative offer to join New York Red Bulls, has told journalists that he expects to start on the bench when France's chaotic World Cup campaign limps into Cape Town tomorrow.

Senior players have told Domenech, who will be replaced by Laurent Blanc at the end of the tournament, that they want to see Lyon's Sidney Govou make way for the 32-year-old Henry and have asked him to replace Yoann Gourcuff with Abou Diaby. During last month's laboured 2-1 victory over Costa Rica, Franck Ribéry snatched the ball from the Bordeaux midfielder just as he was about to take a free-kick and took it himself.

According to the French sports daily, L'Equipe, Domenech was "listening but holding firm". His senior players, who were not named by the paper but who are believed to include Ribéry and Nicolas Anelka, pointed out that Henry's experience and ability to find his form when it mattered were qualities that could not be lightly discarded.

France arrived at their headquarters in Kynysa, midway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, beset by the sort of problems that make Fabio Capello's frustrations with England appear straightforward. Their form in their warm-up games has grown steadily worse with a 1-1 draw against Tunisia, where the French had to come from behind, followed by a defeat to China.

Their hotel, the £450-a-night Penzula Spa, was condemned by the French minister of sport, Rama Yade, as being overly luxurious, while the French Football Association was forced to issue a statement that William Gallas would no longer speak to the media; probably because he had been overlooked to captain the side should Henry not start.

If Domenech cannot be persuaded to alter his plans, Patrice Evra will wear the armband at Green Point Stadium tomorrow night. Domenech pointed out that the hotel was designed to "remove any excuses from the players." He added: "Everything has been put in place so we can function well."

In public both Bacary Sagna and Florent Malouda appealed for France to find some unity before they face Uruguay. "There is no debate," said the Arsenal defender. "The coach has to make his decisions and everyone has to accept it. We can maybe give him some advice but, even if we were to offer it, I don't think he would listen. The most important thing is the team."

Malouda was equally emphatic. "You have to be interested in your team-mates," he said. "You cannot think: 'I'm an attacker, so I only attack.' We are going to look ridiculous if we repeat what we did in Euro 2008 with each player staying in his comfort zone, interested only in good marks from the media."

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

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'