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By ESPN Staff

Les Bleus midfielder Flamini denies quit claims


AC Milan midfielder Matthieu Flamini has denied considering quitting the France team following his failure to make the Euro 2008 squad.

A number of Les Bleus' players left the national set-up following the decision of the French Football Federation (FFF) to keep faith with much-maligned coach Raymond Domenech after a poor showing in Austria and Switzerland.

One of the Domenech's most criticised decisions was keeping the injured Patrick Vieira in the squad at the expense of Flamini.

But the former Arsenal man holds nothing against the coach and is ready to help his team qualify for the 2010 World Cup, starting with the games against Austria and Serbia on September 6 and 10.

'I remain in the service of the France team. I'll always respond to a call-up,' Flamini told L'Equipe.

'I'm not someone who gets bitter about these things. I watched Euro 2008 on the telly, I was still a big supporter of Les Bleus.

'I felt concerned. Things didn't happen as we wanted it to, we missed a chance.

'But everyone has taken stock of things, now we need to turn the page and focus on the present.'

Claude Makelele was one of the players to call time on his international career following France's failure to even get past the group stage at the European Championships.

Flamini, who is a similar player to Makelele, now sees an opportunity to stake a regular place in the side.

'Claude made a decision and it should be respected,' he said. 'Claude is still a big player with plenty of experience. That'll help him at PSG.

'In the France team there are new players (Jeremy Toulalan, Lassana Diarra) who've taken his place.

'I really want to take my chance to show what I'm worth. It's for the coach to decide, but I want to show him.'

Another player hoping to prove their worth is Roma defender Philippe Mexes, who hopes to become a regular partner to William Gallas in defence following Lillian Thuram's retirement.

The 26-year-old failed to impress during the recent 3-2 friendly win over Sweden but insists he can do better in a France shirt.

'I'm showing the coach that I have the level and I deserve to play,' Mexes told France Football.

'I hope to get back in the team as soon as possible. The hardest part is behind me now and with confidence things will get better and better.

'It (the Sweden game) was tricky, people expected a lot of me, it was tough to manage. But I was let down because I can do better.

'We (Gallas and Mexes) don't work together automatically, but we talk a lot. There's a good understanding.

'I play on the left, him (Gallas) on the right. Even though I'm more used to playing on the right I know he's been playing there for a long time. There's no problem.'


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