When Didier Deschamps announced his France squad for the current international break, a few fans started scratching their heads, wondering why Mamadou Sakho had been chosen ahead of Aymeric Laporte.
Present during the last gathering, the Manchester City defender didn’t come off the bench, but it showed the manager was aware of his performances under Pep Guardiola, and it seemed like he was ready to turn to him for the future.
Despite being eligible to be called up by Spain, Laporte played for France’s youth teams from the U17s upwards, and he always seemed to favour wearing the blue shirt instead of the red on the international stage.
That was until it took so long for Deschamps to come knocking that some might have forgiven him for choosing Luis Enrique’s team instead for fear of never representing a country.
And, according to Willy Sagnol, it’s that teetering that might be the root of his problem.
Speaking to Le Vestiaire on RMC Sport, he said: “I think we need to stop talking about certain players. I can understand Deschamps. When you’ve got a player who, for two years, tells you ‘I choose France, Spain, France, Spain’, at one point you tell him ‘if the blue shirt doesn’t interest you, go see elsewhere, kid’.
“I never felt a real desire from him to play for France. I think he wanted to play in a national team because it’s prestigious, because you can win titles, but a love for the blue short, I never felt it. He was in Spain a lot in his life, so I can understand why he’d be also interested by them, but at one point you have to make a choice”.
In a nutshell, ‘either you give everything for the blue shirt or you give it nothing’.
For those wondering, Sagnol knows Laporte quite well, managing him for France U21s between 2013-14 for a few months’, and was fairly critical of him for his work ethic.