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Laurens: France's "Next XI"

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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Leboeuf questions Evra outburst

Frank Leboeuf has questioned the timing of Patrice Evra’s attack on four French TV pundits in which he labelled them "tramps" and "parasites."

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The French Football Federation (FFF) has asked the Manchester United player, 32, to explain his comments which were aimed at former footballers Bixente Lizarazu, Luis Fernandez and Rolland Courbis, as well as journalist Pierre Menes.

Evra was especially scathing in his attack on former Les Bleus left-back Bixente Lizazaru who won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 alongside Leboeuf.

And Leboeuf says that with a two-legged World Cup qualifier coming up against Ukraine to concentrate on, Evra has caused an unwelcome distraction.

He told ESPN: "He [Evra] has the right to answer to journalists but there is a way to do it and he was a little bit insulting, especially to [Bixente] Lizazaru. He should have said something else if he wanted to answer and I think there is a correct way to do it.

"Evra’s timing was worse than ever and if I was Patrice Evra’s teammate I would call him and ask ‘why? Why now?’ We have just started to win games again. Wait until we are qualified and then you can discuss.

"Patrice is a great player and there is no doubt he is going to be in the squad for the World Cup if France get there so he has plenty of time to answer back to the journalists that he doesn’t like and to make his point.

"His behaviour is more instinctive than anything else and it is a shame that he decided to do it now. That’s wrong."

Leboeuf insists that France have a tough task on their hands if they are going to get past Ukraine but he makes them favourites over two legs.

He said: "France have a good history with Ukraine, we have never lost to them and we beat them in the European Championship in Ukraine a year-and-a-half-ago so I think we are in a better position than them and I think we are favourites but that doesn’t mean anything if you don’t fight hard.

"We have a chance, and I think it is better to play Ukraine than to play Portugal or Croatia but we still have to fight to make sure we go through."

France manager Didier Deschamps has a number of young players challenging for a place in his team at the moment including Paul Pogba, Geoffrey Kondogbia and Raphael Varane.

However, Leboeuf says that it makes sense to stick with the established and experienced players who have guided Les Bleus through qualification.

"I think Didier Deschamps already has his squad in his head and he won’t change a lot," Leboeuf said. "The players you mention, I don’t see them being a part of the squad. We already have an idea of the 23 players that he is going to bring if they qualify for Brazil."


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