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By ESPN Staff

Wiltord axed by Rennes after criticising coach

Rennes have temporarily axed Sylvain Wiltord from their first-team squad following the forward's public criticism of coach Guy Lacombe.

In an interview with L'Equipe, the former France international claimed he was no longer wanted by Lacombe and felt he was not being selected for the first team for non-footballing reasons.

Rennes have reacted by releasing a statement on Thursday, which read: 'Following the interview which appeared this morning in the newspaper L'Equipe, Rennes have decided to drop Sylvain Wiltord from the professional squad until further notice.'

Wiltord joined Rennes from Lyon last summer but has experienced mixed fortunes over the past 12 months.

Since Lacombe replaced Pierre Dreossi as coach midway through last season, Wiltord has been mainly used as a substitute.

Wiltord started the first six matches of Lacombe's tenure, but hardly featured in the final 14 games of the season.

In that time, Rennes' results improved so that pattern looked set to continue into the forthcoming season.

Indeed, he has been used sparingly in the Brittany side's pre-season matches.

The 34-year-old believes he has been poorly treated by Lacombe and sees no future at the club where he began his career.

'The coach wants to make people think it is my agent and I who have asked for me to be able to leave, but that is completely wrong,' Wiltord, capped 92 times by Les Bleus, told L'Equipe.

'The situation is simple. The coach told me last week that he no longer counts on me.

'Since then, I have been saying to myself that it is better that I leave.'

Wiltord added: 'What is beginning to annoy me, it's that it is no longer a question of football - it has become personal.

'I am obliged to leave. I have no offers on the table but I am not worried.'

As it stands, he will play no part in Rennes' opening match of the Ligue 1 season, a home fixture against Marseille on Saturday.

Wiltord left Lyon after falling out with club president Jean-Michel Aulas.


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