Samir Nasri is considering retiring from international football after being left out of France’s World Cup squad by Didier Deschamps.
The Manchester City midfielder, who was also omitted by France for the 2010 World Cup, said: “It’s a little bit hard to accept. I need to take some time now to think about the national team because it’s been twice now that they take away a World Cup from me. You can go around and ask any player if they’re happy to be on the bench, nobody’s going to say yes. I need to think a little bit during the holiday, what will be my future in the national team, because missing two World Cups is really hard for a player.”
While Nasri’s absence was greeted with surprise, he said: “I must confess, I knew before. Sometimes you have the feeling, when you call to speak to the manager and he doesn’t want to speak to you, you know you’re not going to go to the World Cup.”
Patrick Vieira, a former France team-mate of Nasri, has criticised the decision to drop a player who has had a fine season with his club.
The head of Manchester City’s elite development squad does not accept Deschamps’ claim that omitting Nasri would improve harmony in the squad, saying the midfielder had never had a problem with indiscipline at City.
“I played with Samir in the national team and I am still working with him at City,” said Vieira, speaking at ITV’s World Cup launch. “We never heard nothing about him at City. I think in France sometimes they are not strong enough to deal with personalities. It’s quite surprising because Deschamps has personality and experience.”
Nasri was instrumental in helping City to win the Premier League and scored the opening goal in their decisive victory over West Ham on the final day of the season.
“If you want to win the World Cup you need to select the best player,” Vieira said. “And Samir, this year he has been fantastic. He did everything to go to the World Cup. He has been scoring goals, making assists. The way he has grown up is his influence on the group and the team. He is a positive lad, he has been working really hard and he is taking more responsibility on his shoulder. He has got personality, and a strong personality. He never had a problem with Manchester City.”
Vieira threw his support behind Greg Dyke’s controversial proposal to introduce B teams into the Football League, but rejected the Football Association chairman’s claim that City’s title victory was “depressing” because of their lack of English players.
“I just have to tell him that if he created B teams he will help us to develop more young talent,” Vieira said. “When you look at the youth Champions League at under-19, the majority of the players are English and are from Manchester. I invite him to come to watch us play and he will see that we have talent, British talent, in our football club, and what we need is to give them the right challenges.
“We don’t want to send our players on loan. We want to keep them with us, to give them the right education and the challenge that they need. When we send young players on loan, they are going to clubs where managers need to win games and the only focus is to win games. It’s really difficult for them to develop because if they make one or two mistakes, they are not going to play any more.
“In our football club, making a mistake is part of the development. You can start in the Conference and go up if you finish in the top two or top three. You British guys are quite old-fashioned, history is really important. But you have to change because the game is changing.
“You’re always going to produce players because there is the love for the game. But I believe you don’t produce enough talent compared to how many kids play football. And one of the reasons, I believe, is that they have been challenging too late.”
There was also praise for the job Manuel Pellegrini has done in his first season at City. “It is just the way he is as a person,” Vieira said. “In a really small lapse of time everybody fell in love with him. He gives you his time, he shows you respect, and he is a lovely man. Really humble, doesn’t take anything for granted, he has been terrific for the club. All the pressure coming from outside, he keeps his calm, never one note higher than the other, always on the same level. He’s been fantastic.”