New France coach Raymond Domenech has opted for youth as he begins the reconstruction of the national team in the wake of Zinedine Zidane’s international retirement.
Domenech, also without the retired trio of Bixente Lizarazu, Lilian Thuram and Marcel Desailly, has included seven uncapped players in his squad to face Bosnia in next week’s friendly international.
“My idea is to give young players the opportunity to prove themselves. I don’t want to wait for them to be 26 years old to picked them up,” Domenech said.
“It seems more interesting and more stimulating to have youthful players. When you are 30 or 31 you can tell yourself you are close to the end.”
Only 10 players from France’s Euro 2004 squad retained their places, with goalkeeper Fabien Barthez the last surviving member of the 1998 World Cup-winning team.
“Fabien will bridge the gap between the two generations,” Domenech said.
The new captain is Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira, who may sooon be teaming up with Zidane at Real Madrid.
“Patrick is going to be the team’s captain,” added Domenech.
“He is the one who will have to make the link between the coach and the players. I think he is the right man to do this.”
Zidane’s number 10 shirt will be temporarily retired.
“We are not going to allocate it to a player for a while. This would put too much pressure on one’s shoulders,” he said.
Goalkeepers: Fabien Barthez (Olympique Marseille), Gregory Coupet (Olympique Lyon)
Defenders: Eric Abidal (Olympique Lyon), Jean-Alain Boumsong (Rangers), Patrice Evra (Monaco), William Gallas (Chelsea), Gael Givet (AS Monaco), Bernard Mendy (Paris St Germain), Anthony Reveillere (Olympique Lyon), Sebastien Squillaci (Monaco)
Midfielders: Alou Diarra (RC Lens), Rio-Antonio Mavuba (Girondins Bordeaux), Benoit Pedretti (Olympique Marseille), Robert Pires (Arsenal), Jerome Rothen (Paris St Germain), Patrick Vieira (Arsenal)
Forwards: Djibril Cisse (Liverpool), Pierre-Alain Frau (Olympique Lyon), Sydney Govou (Olympique Lyon), Thierry Henry (Arsenal), Peguy Luyindula (Olympique Marseille)