France captain Patrick Vieira and Chelsea midfielder Florent Malouda have been recalled to the national squad by coach Raymond Domenech for the June friendlies with Nigeria and Turkey.
Vieira has had an injury-wracked season and had already missed France's unhappy UEFA EURO 2008 campaign because of injury while Malouda was last selected for the friendly with Tunisia last October - and then he only came on for six minutes as a substitute. However, the 44-times capped former Lyon star - who has voiced criticism of Domenech - has rediscovered his form at Chelsea since Guus Hiddink took over in February as interim manager following the sacking of Luiz Felipe Scolari.
If certain players were not included of late it was because their
performances were not good enough and those of their rivals were.
Domenech insisted that his recalls of Malouda and Vieira - who won the last of his 106 caps last November in the friendly against Uruguay - did not represent a u-turn on his behalf. "I recalled them because one has to be logical, and I am," said Domenech.
"If certain players were not included of late it was because their performances were not good enough and those of their rivals were - that was the case of Malouda. And Vieira has started playing again after a difficult season. He is the captain of the national side, and if I did not pick him for these two friendlies, them I am not being logical."
Domenech, who guided France to the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ final penalty shootout defeat to Italy, said that he had recalled Malouda despite the player's doubts about him.
"It is imperative always to be clear with people, I thought I was clear, I will be even more so, with a player who plays for the French side, who does not play just for himself, but that is for us to deal with behind closed doors and stays between us," commented Domenech. "But it is important to say things to one's face. At each meeting, I have discussions to point out what pleased me and what didn't."
The other recalled player to the squad which is without several established first choice players such as the injured William Gallas is that of Lyon midfielder Sidney Govou, who has made a remarkable recovery after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon in January.