Adrien Rabiot has revealed he was having a nap when Didier Deschamps named him in his France squad for the top-of-the-table clash with Sweden in 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ qualifying.
“I was trying to rest when the list came out, so I didn’t watch it live,” said the 21-year-old Paris Saint-Germain midfielder. “I was awakened by the phone ringing and texts from friends, family. I looked at the time – it was about 14:30. I saw all the missed calls and messages and I knew immediately.”
Rabiot was named on the stand-by list for UEFA EURO 2016 alongside the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin, Kevin Gameiro and Alexandre Lacazette. When Lass Diarra withdrew injured, however, Deschamps added Schneiderlin, and not Rabiot, to his defensive midfield ranks, which included Yohan Cabaye, N’Golo Kante and Blaise Matuidi.
“I made me happy to be a stand-by before the EURO, but this is something else,” said Rabiot, who spent time at Manchester City during his youth career. “This is a real selection, so I’m really happy. Being a reserve gave me a push – I came back with better intentions for the new season. I started the season well, so I expected the call-up a little and had talked about the possibility a lot lately.
“I feel ready. I think I have a little more experience, particularly at [Champions League] level, and that can only help me for international level. I think the call-up was timely.”
France top Group A in European qualifying, above Sweden on goal difference, with the Netherlands three points back in third. The French host the Swedes on 11 November, before facing Côte d'Ivoire in a friendly four days later.
USA 1994 was the last World Cup Les Bleus missed out on.