Yoann Gourcuff glad to be back in France squad

 

Lyon's Yoann Gourcuff is delighted to be back in the France squad but is focused simply on the team effort against Italy this week.

Didier Deschamps handed the 26-year-old his first call-up since May for Wednesday's friendly in Parma after Gourcuff returned from a serious knee injury with some impressive displays for his club.

And the midfielder said at a press conference reported on Eurosport's website: "I was not really expecting to be selected so soon, I have been focused on recovering well and regaining my fitness.

"I get slight pains from certain movements but nothing too worrying. I am not at 100 per cent but it is going well.

"I am just happy to be here and I will do my best to help my team-mates. The coach knows my qualities and it is up to him to see what I can bring to the team."

Deschamps added: "I hope he can bring the same as I have seen him do for Olympique Lyonnais. I wanted to bring him back into the group to have another look at him.

"On the pitch, you know his qualities as well as I do."

Gourcuff's recall has been welcomed by striker Bafetimbi Gomis, his club and country team-mate, who said: "I am happy because I see him every day and he works hard.

"He has played well, I can testify to that because he has set up a few chances for me."

As well as Gourcuff, Bordeaux full-back Benoit Tremoulinas also returns to the squad after replacing Manchester City's Gael Clichy.

Clichy withdrew this morning with a back problem, allowing Tremoulinas to potentially win his first cap.

The 26-year-old was called up for the friendly against Norway in August 2010, when then-coach Laurent Blanc axed the entire squad involved in that summer's dismal World Cup campaign, but did not play.

Deschamps said: "After the injury to Christophe Jallet, I called up Anthony Reveillere, and Benoit Tremoulinas to replace Gael Clichy.

"Tremoulinas came with us a little while ago, two years ago I believe, and he has regularly been part of the preliminary squads.

"He is a player with interesting potential. It's a chance for him to join the squad."

Deschamps was forced to address club-versus-country issues of differing natures over two of his players, winger Franck Ribery and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

Ribery sparked controversy when, after scoring in Bayern Munich's 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, he appeared to suggest playing for the club was more important to him than the national team.

Both the 29-year-old and his agent claimed his comments were misunderstood, blaming his lack of fluency in German.

And Deschamps said today: "He spoke in German, in Germany, and it was translated.

"When you know what Bayern have done for him through some difficult times, it is natural that he is grateful to them.

"When he is here, the joy he shows and his determination leave me in no doubt as to his attachment to the France jersey."

Where Lloris is concerned, Deschamps was once again forced to revisit his war of words with the Tottenham man's club manager Andre Villas-Boas.

Last week Deschamps claimed Villas-Boas' rotation policy, in which Lloris has been largely restricted to Europa League action since his £8million move from Lyon, could have a detrimental effect on the goalkeeper's form.

The Spurs manager claimed Deschamps' criticism "goes in one ear and comes out the other" and Deschamps responded with a similar barb today.

"I have two ears as well," he said. "What he says has the same effect on me.

"We are not talking of a player who does not play. Since he played his excellent match against Spain (France's 1-1 draw last month), he has kept goal three times.

"Hugo is playing one match per week. Of course, he would like to play more, and it is not the case for the moment. He is getting on with it as best he possibly can (but) obviously he would like to play more."

Lloris' former club-mate Gomis admitted that "his situation saddens me and surprises me", while Lille's France forward Dimitri Payet said: "It is a difficult situation.

"It's not easy for him to deal with that. But we are all aware of his talent and I hope he can quickly regain his place on the pitch."

PA

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