Anelka back for France

France coach Raymond Domenech has recalled Bolton striker Nicolas Anelka to the national squad for the upcoming Euro 2008 qualifiers against Scotland and the Faroe Islands.

Nicolas Anelka (R) in action for France
Nicolas Anelka (R) in action for France

Anelka, who was omitted from France’s World Cup squad, makes his return due to injury worries over fellow strikers Sydney Govou (left ankle) and Louis Saha (groin and hamstring), while Liverpool forward Djibril Cisse is still out recovering from a broken leg.


27-year-old Anelka, whose previous clubs include Paris Saint Germain, Arsenal, Real Madrid and Liverpool, has scored seven goals in 31 matches for France but hasn’t played for ‘Les Bleus’ since March 1.


“I’m happy for him,” France defender Willy Sagnol said of Anelka.


“I have the chance to know him pretty well and his bad boy reputation was quite unfair.


“I think he has changed a lot.”


Fellow French player William Gallas, echoed Sagnol’s sentiments.


“He has said that he wanted to come back for France and it’s good for him Domenech picked him,” said Gallas.


“It proves that he never gave France up. He deserves to make his comeback.”


The highlight of the troubled forward’s national career was being a part of France’s Euro 2000 winning squad, and he signed this year for Bolton from Turkish club Fenerbache for $15.05 million.


France play Scotland in Glasgow on Saturday, followed by a clash with Faroe Islands next Wednesday in Sochaux.


Rooney still upset


Meanwhile, Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is still upset with the Football Association’s decision to ban him for three matches after he was sent off in a pre-season friendly against Porto in Amsterdam.


“It was hard to take,” Rooney told the Daily  Mirror.


“The FA made their decision and it was very nice of them to support me with a three-game ban. Four if you think that I missed the Ajax friendly too.


“I didn’t want to say too much, but I didn’t even think it was a red card so I was devastated about it, especially because the start of the season is so important.”


The England forward believes that the suspension has contributed to his slow start to the season ahead of the national side’s Euro 2008 qualifiers against Macedonia and Croatia.


Former England star Paul Gascoigne empathised with Rooney’s frustration.


“When Wayne is on form he is an unbelievable talent and one of the guys I would pay to watch,” he told Sky Sports News.


“I can see why he is upset that (the FA) haven’t backed him up, but hopefully he can put it behind him and turn on the style on Saturday.”


England play Macedonia at Old Trafford on Saturday, and then meet Croatia at the Stadion Maksimir in Zagreb on Wednesday.

Source: News Agencies

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