France exile continues for Samir Nasri and Hatem Ben Arfa as latest squad is announced

 

France coach Didier Deschamps felt it was not “the right time” to recall Samir Nasri even though the Manchester City midfielder has completed his three-match suspension.

Nasri was handed the sanction by the French Football Federation for abusing a journalist at Euro 2012, but was expected to return to the squad for the friendly against Japan and the crucial World Cup qualifier against Spain later this month.

However, Deschamps opted to extend Nasri's exile and instead chose Toulouse midfielder Moussa Sissoko and Lassana Diarra, who recently moved to Anzhi Makhachkala from Real Madrid.

"I didn't think it was the right time to call him back," Deschamps said. "I prefer to wait a while.

"But before his minor injury he put together a very good start to the season. He has scored and contributed a few assists.

"He is available for selection but, again, I just felt it was not the right time."

Newcastle's Hatem Ben Arfa was also overlooked despite a fine run of form in the Barclays Premier League, while Abou Diaby and Rio Mavuba missed out through injury.

Diarra's inclusion for the first time since August 2010 is a surprise, but Deschamps admitted: "If Diaby and Mavuba were available, maybe he wouldn't be here.

"But he has always been on stand-by and it is a logical choice."

Deschamps is eager to see Sissoko in action having been impressed with his progress in Ligue 1.

"He is a young player but has great potential," he added.

"I want to get a closer look and hopefully he will be encouraged to do even better in the future."

France meet Japan in a friendly in Paris on October 12 before taking on world and European champions Spain in Madrid four days later.

With just one side guaranteed to qualify from Group I, the matches against Spain take on extra significance and Deschamps is aware just how difficult it will be for his men.

"I am certain we will play a team at the highest level, but that doesn't mean we'll go over there as victims, thinking we can't do anything," Deschamps said.

"We have to try and cause them problems with the way we use the ball."

Spain will be without injured veteran centre-half Carles Puyol and possibly his Barcelona team-mate Gerard Pique for the clash at the Vicente Calderon, but Deschamps knows the home side will still possess plenty of quality.

"Maybe they are missing some players, but they are still the best team in the world," he added.

"The facts are there. No other team has won the European Championship, the World Cup and the Euro again."

France squad...

Goalkeepers: Mickael Landreau (Lille), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Steve Mandanda (Olympique Marseille)

Defenders: Gael Clichy (Manchester City), Mathieu Debuchy (Lille), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Christophe Jallet (Paris St Germain), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Adil Rami (Valencia), Mamadou Sakho (Paris St Germain), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (Montpellier)

Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle), Etienne Capoue (Toulouse), Lassana Diarra (FC Anzhi Makhachkala), Maxime Gonalons (Olympique Lyon), Blaise Matuidi (Paris St Germain), Moussa Sissoko (Toulouse), Mathieu Valbuena (Olympique Marseille)

Strikers: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Bafetimbi Gomis (Olympique Lyon), Jeremy Menez (Paris St Germain), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich)

PA

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