Evra: Time to forget World Cup strike saga

Patrice Evra wants to "turn the page" on his role in France's World Cup revolution as he returns to the squad for the first time since. It is a stance that Laurent Blanc, France's coach, readily agrees with as he seeks to open a new chapter in French football, but the fallout from the extraordinary events of last summer continue to dog his side despite an improvement in results.

Yesterday, after Evra had stated his desire to move on, Blanc had to field questions over Franck Ribéry and Yoann Gourcuff's attempts to clear the air. The pair were reported to have fought on a flight in South Africa and Ribéry's return to the squad brought them face to face for the first time since the tournament. To ensure there were no further problems when the two met up a member of the coaching staff was present.

Surely that means there is still a problem, Blanc was asked. "I'm telling you there isn't one. You can take it or leave it, but there isn't one," he said, unable to conceal his frustration that the issue continues to dominate his press conferences. "You always need to be three in a discussion. Often when you have discussions like that, to iron things out and get back to sound ways, you always need three people. Because if there are only two, it becomes difficult."

Ribéry served a three-match ban for his part in the players' strike in South Africa, while Evra, the captain, was suspended for five games. Both are expected to start against Luxembourg tomorrow night as France resume their European Championship campaign. Under Blanc – and without Evra and Ribéry – they have regained form, sitting top of their group and having beaten England and Brazil in friendlies.

Evra said: "I want to turn the page. I want to be a solution and not a problem for this new generation. I worked like a madman in my club to maintain my level and to get the chance to be called up. It's with great pride that I find myself back in the French team, which I missed enormously. The people who know the real Patrice Evra knew I would fight to come back."

Evra has denied being the ringleader in the strike that saw the players' poor relations with coach Raymond Domenech spill over into a refusal to train. French politicians have said that Evra should never play for his country again. Evra said: "Someone had to pay for it. Some people said I was a ringleader, which was totally false. It was as a captain, and not as a ringleader, that I took this [punishment]."

Blanc spoke with Evra at the start of the week. "Sometimes words are easy to say, actions are a bit harder to do. We've done the first thing, which was to talk," Blanc said. "We spoke about the past, the present. He seems to be someone who holds the French team dear. The most important thing is what will happen in the weeks, the months to come."

* Arsenal are awaiting news of Nicklas Bendtner, who limped out of training with Denmark yesterday after suffering an ankle injury.

News
Food blogger and Guardian writer Jack Monroe with her young son
people
News
people
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
TV
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Life and Style
The racy marketing to entice consumers to buy Fairlife, which launches in the US next month
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital