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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
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
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee