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May 16, 2013

Nasri makes France return

Didier Deschamps has called up Samir Nasri for the first time since taking over as France coach last summer as he wants "answers" from the controversial Manchester City midfielder.

Nasri, 25, has not played for his country since returning home from Euro 2012 in disgrace after insulting a journalist following Les Bleus' quarter-final defeat to Spain. The former Marseille and Arsenal man was handed a three-match ban following the incident, barring him from appearing in the opening trio of games of Deschamps' reign.

After ignoring Nasri so far, Deschamps will give the exciting but inconsistent playmaker the opportunity to show he has learned from last summer's events during next month's trip to South America.

"I have no guarantee. I'm not pretentious enough to say that there will be no problem with me. He'll get the same treatment as the others," Deschamps, whose side face Uruguay on June 5 and Brazil four days later, told the press. "It'll give me the chance to talk face-to-face with him. There comes a time when I need answers to take a clear position."

Persona non grata in his home country in the immediate aftermath of Euro 2012, Nasri's poor early season form made it easy for Deschamps to ignore him. However, with the skilful midfielder becoming increasingly influential for his club in the closing stages of the season, the issue of a recall, if not of wiping the slate entirely clean, became more pressing.

"The past is the past. He can't go back, nor erase the past. He's becoming decisive again, and so it's logical that he comes back so that I can see him about it and also see him in the group," said Deschamps, who sent Nasri and his team-mates a veiled warning to be on their best behaviour. "I'm not here to take risks. We're going to play two friendly matches, and spend ten days together. If at any time I feel a player is endangering the squad. They know very well that I won't pick them again, and that goes for everyone."

Franck Ribery was left out given he will only feature in the DFB Cup final with Bayern Munich on June 1 while Manchester United's Patrice Evra also misses out after a title-winning but tiring Premier League season.

"He's not got a privileged position," Deschamps explained. "He's known from the start that I'm not here to give out presents. I've made that choice. He knows about it. He's not sitting in front of his TV waiting for the list."

There were first call-ups for Saint-Etienne midfielder Joshua Guilavogui, 22, and Porto centre-back Eliaquim Mangala, 22, while Lyon midfielder Yoann Gourcuff, 26, was also included despite a trying domestic season.

"Gourcuff has played well in recent matches with Lyon. He's got his legs back," Deschamps said of the former Bordeaux playmaker, who has only appeared once under the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 winner to date. "He's always had his footballing quality, and has mostly been troubled by a series of injury problems. He can bring us a lot of things on a technical level. Picking him gives me a chance to see him again."

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