Patrice Evra back in the French fold
France coach Didier Deschamps has chosen Patrice Evra in a 24-man squad to face Ukraine in their World Cup play-off.
Evra’s inclusion follows his clearance to play by the French federation, after he called former internationals Luis Fernandez and Bixente Lizarazu “bums” in a TV interview last month.
“I do not know what Lizarazu has against me,” the Manchester United defender said. “I was twice voted best left-back in the world, four times the best left-back in the Premier League. Him, I don’t even know if he was ever voted best left-back in the world.
“I recall my first call-up to the national side, all the others shook my hand apart from him. Thierry Henry said to him, ‘Oh Liza, here is the opposition.’ And Lizarazu looked at me and said, ‘Why? Someone told you that I was already retired?’.
“People have a good impression of me, it won’t be these tramps who dirty my image. They must stop lying to the French people.”
Nonetheless, Deschamps a former World Cup winner alongside Lizarazu, defended his decision to select Evra.
“He was eligible so I decided to pick him,” Deschamps told a news conference.
“I and the players are focused on a very important meeting for us. You can write whatever you want. Internally we are focused on sport.”
Quizzed on the matter by reporters, an irritable Deschamps added: “I choose on sporting criteria. You can write whatever you want.”
Which perhaps goes to show that to Evra is human, but to forgive is Deschamps.