Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Newcastle Target Mbiwa Is Left out from French Squad Baines Delighted at Call-Up despite Cole Task

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Newcastle Target Mbiwa Is Left out from French Squad Baines Delighted at Call-Up despite Cole Task

Article excerpt

NEWCASTLE target Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa has been left out of France's Euro 2012 squad - much the surprise of his club coach Rene Girard.

The Montpellier manager admitted he was surprised to see defender Yanga-Mbiwa and team-mate Yoann Gourcuff left by French boss Laurent Blanc.

While Girard described his Yanga-Mbiwa's omission as a "semi-surprise" he said he had been caught out by the decision to leave Lyon midfielder Gourcuff behind.

"The team that Laurent has chosen seems to be balanced. That said I was still a little surprised by the exclusion of Gourcuff," he said.

"Since he brought him in to the original 26-man squad I thought he might take him until the end. If he had not been in the 26 then I would not have been as surprised."

The Lyon midfielder's place in France's squad has been up in the air after he endured an injury-interrupted season.

But after forcing his way back in Gourcuff spurned his chance to impress during the weekend's 3-2 win over Iceland.

The 25-year-old came under fire as Les Bleus came from 2-0 down, after Gourcuff's 75thminute substitution, to avoid an embarrassing defeat.

"The Press were very critical of him and that's unfortunate," Girard said.

"The problems in that game were not solely Yoann but the collective effort of the team. At the same time a lot is expected of him.

"Personally I do not think that game changed anything. The dice was rolled. We must move forward now."

Asked whether Blanc should have included Gourcuff at all, he added: "The media would have questioned Laurent if he did not call him up. It would have been a topic of conversation.

"A decision had to be made. Laurent has selected the players he think can do the job now."

That selection meant the 23-year-old Yanga-Mbiwa also missed out but Girard said he expected the sought-after central defender would bounce back.

"It is a semi-surprise but he is still only young," he said.

"He is on the rise, but he is surely going to be disappointed. …

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