France coach Raymond Domenech insists he will not ostracise Karim Benzema despite the Real Madrid forward's "unacceptable" comments.
There was speculation that Benzema would not be included in the latest squad after the striker's surprise admission that he had not really felt like playing in last month's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier against Serbia and had struggled to give his all.
However, he has been included by Domenech, who revealed he will ask Benzema to explain himself but will not let it affect his relationship with the 21-year-old. "You can't say that at this level," said Domenech. "He has the right to think that a bit, that can cross his mind, but he does not have the right to say it, nor to do it. That's unacceptable. However, I can extend my hand to someone when they make a mistake. That's the case in this situation.
"He's young, he has talent, a good future. I'm not going to condemn anyone for a comment. The pitch is the only answer which counts," the coach went on. "I'm very optimistic for him. He understood that he has to concentrate and he has a desire to be part of this team. I'm not a telephone man but one of relationships, direct contact. We will discuss this, it's important to. But I prefer to have him in front of me and to talk about it. It's better than a phone call which doesn't help anything."
France face the Faroe Islands on 10 October at Guingamp before meeting Austria at Saint-Denis four days later. Les Bleus are second in Group 7, four points behind Serbia and four ahead of Austria.
Domenech has handed a debut call up to Rennes goalkeeper Nicolas Douchez and also included Moussa Sissoko in his squad for the second time. However, it looks like Patrick Vieira's international career is over after the Inter Milan midfielder was snubbed yet again, while there is also no place for Loic Remy following Nice's poor run of results.
Yoann Gourcuff aggravated a thigh injury in Bordeaux's UEFA Champions League victory over Maccabi Haifa last night and will now play no part in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.