France coach Laurent Blanc admits he found the exclusion of Rio Ferdinand from the England squad for Euro 2012 ‘surprising’.
The ongoing saga has loomed over manager Roy Hodgson after he cited ‘football reasons’ for leaving out the 33-year-old Manchester United centre-back.
Many believe Ferdinand was left out of the squad due to potential clashes in the dressing room with John Terry.
Terry is due in court after the tournament to face a charge of racially abusing Ferdinand’s brother Anton, a charge he denies.
Blanc, who leads France into a Group D clash against England on Monday, is sure the other issues were a deciding factor in leaving out Ferdinand.
“Every team has its problems and concerns,” he said.
“The English have injury problems but I know Rio Ferdinand. I think from afar that the choice to not take him isn’t a sporting choice.
“It has been surprising to not see him. If the manager has made the choice … I am not in his place.”
France enter the tournament in Poland and Ukraine on a 21-match unbeaten run, which has included wins over Germany, Brazil and England.
Blanc said he was delighted with his team’s attack, and hailed the form of Bayern Munich forward Franck Ribery.
“We knew that the team could be strong in attack. The press often said that Franck Ribery was not playing at his best level with France,” he said.
“He’s getting back to his best for the last three games because he continued on the same level he played for his club during the season and Karim (Benzema) confirmed the good season he had with Real Madrid so we have two players with a great potential.”
Ribery netted his first international goal since April 29 when he struck in France’s 3-2 victory over Iceland in May.
The 29-year-old said it was a relief to score and end the drought.
“It’s true that everyone was waiting for that goal. It was really good for me to score that goal, especially in that kind of scenario, to score in the last 20 minutes,” Ribery said.
“It was good to come back and play in the Nord, play at Valenciennes.
“The way the fans acted with me gave me a lot of confidence and also hunger to play the next friendly games.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!