France coach Didier Deschamps says that the “harmony” within his squad is not worth risking by recalling Real Madrid star Karim Benzema.
Benzema has not featured for Les Bleus since being charged by police in connection to an alleged blackmail attempt targeting his international team-mate Mathieu Valbuena, a case which is yet to go to trial.
The 29-year-old missed last year’s European Championship on home soil as a result, although French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet announced in February that the decision regarding his return to the set-up rested solely with Deschamps.
Benzema was once again absent from a squad that will contest fixtures against Paraguay, Sweden and England in June.
— Equipe de France (@equipedefrance) May 18, 2017
With the returning Alexandre Lacazette and Kurt Zouma joining the likes of Ligue 1 champions Kylian Mbappe and Thomas Lemar, Deschamps has hinted that a look to the future could spell the end of Benzema’s international hopes under his leadership.
The coach told reporters: “The French team was built before the Euro, it consolidated through the competition where France managed to go to the final.
“The group continued to be in this qualifying phase [for the 2018 World Cup].
“I have a group in which there is harmony. I trust players who answered on the field, I incorporated young players because I consider that they have great potential.
“I am the only decision-maker, I make decisions in a sporting setting. For me, I always considered that a group is above everything else.
“I always make decisions for the good of the team of France. I always discuss with my technical staff before announcing the list. I’ve always acted like that, I do not change anything.”
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