PARIS — New France coach Didier Deschamps Wednesday warned players that they risked not being picked if they fell short of standards of behavior when representing the national side.
“I really want everyone to have the right attitude and behave properly,” said the former Marseille manager, who took over from Laurent Blanc after the European championships.
“If anyone doesn’t do that, they’ll be condemning themselves, not me. Being picked or not picked is a form of sporting sanction,” he told AFP in an interview.
France midfielder Samir Nasri was last week handed a three-match ban from the national team following a French football federation (FFF) investigation into his behavior during Euro 2012.
That came after an outburst at a television camera after scoring in the Group D match against England and a tirade of foul-mouthed abuse aimed at a reporter following France’s elimination to eventual champions Spain in the quarterfinal.
Jeremy Menez, of Paris Saint-Germain, was given a one-match international ban following a spat with captain Hugo Lloris in the game against Spain and for insulting the referee after the same match.
In addition, Newcastle United’s Hatem Ben Arfa and Yann M’Vila, of Rennes, were both issued with warnings.
Deschamps said he had no comment to make on the sanctions, which rules both Nasri and Menez out of the friendly fixture against Uruguay on Aug. 15.
Manchester City’s Nasri will also have to sit out France’s first two World Cup 2014 qualifiers.
“The role of every trainer or selector is to shape a team,” said the former midfielder, who captained France to World Cup victory in 1998.
“The better it’s shaped, the better it is,” he said, adding that he would talk to the players about respecting others and the team.
Mindful of the furore created notably by Nasri during Euro 2012 and a backlash against player bonuses, Deschamps stressed the key role the players can have for the country.
“From a historical point of view, what happened in 2010 (World Cup, when France players went on strike against then coach Raymond Domenech) and at Euro 2012, players have to realize they have a responsibility to be an example on and off the pitch.
“There are two important things: the idea of pleasure, of representing France, wearing the shirt and at the same time a spirit.
“To be a French international, that has to be the pinnacle, even for players who are playing at big clubs and in big competitions.
“I won’t use the term ‘zero tolerance’ but with what happened, French supporters attached as much importance to the result as to behavior.
“Even if it’s not serious things in the true sense of term, it’s disturbing and annoying for others. We can’t all be the same but the players have to be on their guard.” — AFP