France coach Didier Deschamps said Monday Barcelona’s Jeremy Mathieu should have warned him he was about to retire from international duty, having called up the defender three days previously.
Mathieu only played five times for France before refusing a call up that came on Friday, and then announcing Sunday his decision was definitive.
“I don’t mind what people decide to do so long as they are straight about it,” said Deschamps.
“It’s his decision and I understand. I just wish he’d told me earlier,” said Deschamps, who called up the defender for upcoming World Cup qualifiers with Bulgaria on Friday and the Netherlands three days later.
“He was honest enough to tell me his decision before going public however,” Deschamps conceded.
Deschamps is known to have a conservative attitude towards selection of defenders, preferring experience over youth, but the 32-year-old Mathieu was not considered first choice.
It is likely Deschamps will select Raphael Varane of Real Madrid and Laurent Koscielny of Arsenal in the centre with Manchester City’s Bacary Sagna and Barcelona’s Lucas Digne on the flanks.
The coach also called up Basque defender Aymeric Laporte for the first time, the 22-year-old Athletic Bilbao defender finally choosing to represent France instead of Spain after long hesitation.
France are in European qualifying group A and drew their first game 0-0 in Belarus in a group also featuring Sweden and Luxembourg. – Agence France-Presse