Rabiot refuses reserve role
Refusing to be on call in France’s squad as a 23-year-old junior international, Adrien Rabiot has heard clear words from coach Didier Deschamps – and Franck Ribery has encouraged an unexpected tweet.
Adrien Rabiot has played six internationals so far, but that’s all he will be doing in the foreseeable future. The Paris St. Germain midfielder sent an e-mail to the French association shortly before the World Cup.
Last week, national coach Didier Deschamps announced his final 23-man squad for the tournament in Russia, while at the same time naming an eleven-man list of players who would be on call if one of the A squad were injured. Besides Kingsley Coman (Bavaria) or Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal) there was also Rabiots name.
Unlike before the 2014 World Cup and the home European Championship in 2016, reservists are not allowed to participate in the training camp in Clairefontaine this year, but must keep themselves fit and reachable independently. Rabiot apparently didn’t feel like it.
Follow your training plans? Be reachable? Apparently Rabiot didn’t want that.
On Monday evening, Deschamps received an e-mail that Rabiot had signed but apparently not formulated himself. Content: He is not available as a reservist, he will not follow the training plans handed over. Deschamps confirmed the authenticity of the letter, even though Rabiot had not reacted to his attempts at contact.
One thing is certain: the 23-year-old international has not done himself a favour with his strange decision. Association President Noel le Graet spoke of a “bad decision” with which Rabiot “only punishes himself”, Deschamps of a “serious mistake”. Rabiot had excluded himself from the group. “He’s 23, he’s young. If he were 30 and already had 50 caps, there might be mitigating circumstances. “I understand his great disappointment, but the national team is above all else.”
Ribery on Ibiza: “Oh, Didier, I’m ready!!!”
After all: Deschamps refrained on Wednesday evening from testifying that he would never appoint Rabiot again. “I have never taken such radical positions.” Rather, he hopes for a maturing process with the long-time PSG professional, who has never been guilty of any debts with the national team. “That’s why his behavior surprises me even more, there wasn’t the slightest sign.”
Deschamps can no longer report a replacement to FIFA for Rabiot, who had not attracted any further attention in his few international matches – although one offered to do so promptly on Wednesday: Franck Ribery, who had resigned in 2014 but had already gotten himself into conversation again via kicker before the 2016 European Championship, twittered with wild exclamation marks and emojis: “I’m on Ibiza and I just got a call: Is there an empty seat in the reserve? Oh, Didier, I’m ready!!!! “Come on.”
Only if a member of the 23-man squad, to whom Deschamps, like all national coaches, must commit himself by 4 June, still seriously injured until the day before the opening match, could Deschamps also register a player outside his now only ten-man reserve team. As a precautionary measure (and unofficially), he could of course already call another candidate, but he does not want to do so: “We will remain like this”.