Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pires Given Captain's Armband for France

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pires Given Captain's Armband for France

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL THOMSON

ROBERT PIRES is poised to captain a reshuffled France side in the Confederations Cup against Japan in St Etienne tonight.

Arsenal winger Pires said: "I'm not afraid of taking the armband.

I'm going to take my responsibilities. I have done it before many years ago at Marseille.

"I will take it on, no problems, and if Arsene Wenger ever asked me to captain the Arsenal team the answer would be the same. But the main thing is the result against Japan."

France coach Jacques Santini said Manchester United's Fabien Barthez, who was rested for the opening match against Colombia, will replace Gregory Coupet in goal. Olympique Lyon's Sidney Govou will start up front along with Fulham's Steve Marlet.

"Some players have slight knocks, like Thierry Henry, Marcel Desailly, Sylvain Wiltord," said Santini Meanwhile, Dennis Bergkamp has yet to agree a new contract with Arsenal.

Despite more than four weeks of talks between the Dutch striker and his agent and Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein, a deal has not been struck.

It was expected that Bergkamp would sign for another year soon after the domestic season finished with the FA Cup final win over Southampton in Cardiff on 17 May.

He expressed a desire to play for one more season and in April said: "The impression I get from the manager is that he wants me to stay. …

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