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Barca attack picking up steam

Barcelona 41 minutes ago
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Apr 2, 2013

Nasri determined to win France recall

Samir Nasri accepts his chequered past with the French national side means he must be "irreproachable" with Manchester City if he wants to wear the blue of his country again.

Nasri, 25, has not featured for Les Bleus since courting controversy at Euro 2012 where he reacted angrily to press criticism by screaming "Shut your face!" at a journalist after scoring against England. He was then involved in a violent altercation with another journalist following France's quarter-final exit to Spain.

The French Football Federation gave Nasri a three-match international ban for his behaviour at the Euros, and he has not been selected in the squad since then.

"My past is different to other players. I have to be irreproachable with my club," the City midfielder told beIN Sport, adding he still hoped to play international football. "It's very important for a top-level footballer. It's the summit. The World Cup or the Euros are competitions I dreamed of playing in when I was a kid. You have to be realistic, perform well and hold down a regular first-team place with your club every weekend. After that, you can begin to think about the national side."

Along with Karim Benzema, 25, Nasri is the most high profile of a talented generation of French footballers, including Hatem Ben Arfa, 26, and Jeremy Menez, 25, who were all tipped to become major stars as they progressed through junior categories together.

While their talent is undeniable, their attitude has often been questionable, however, leading City manager Roberto Mancini to announce last weekend he often felt like punching the inconsistent former Marseille and Arsenal player. Nasri himself acknowledged perhaps the qualities in the quartet's heads did not match those in their feet.

"We've all had different trajectories, but actually they're quite similar," he added. "We're a talented generation, but a little fragile mentally and psychologically. You have to know people well to figure out how things happen. We've come through the ranks together, and I haven't given up hope that one day we'll form the hard core of the French national team. There's a lot of talent there, but the head needs to follow."

Benzema's mental strength is being given a thorough examination now with doubts persisting over his ability to contribute to the national side. The Real Madrid forward has not scored in 12 internationals, but despite the lengthy barren spell, Nasri believes Didier Deschamps should not replace Benzema with Olivier Giroud.

"I think it's a pointless debate. Karim is the most talented forward in French football," he explained. "You have to have confidence in him, and put him in the best possible environment. Before, even if he didn't score, his work and his assists were highlighted. The fact that people talk about a forward not scoring merely increases the doubt in his own mind, but a striker must never doubt."

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