FRANCE

Deschamps says Mathieu’s retirement is "understandable"

The France coach said he understood the Barcelona defender’s shock decision but that he could have told him sooner.

Deschamps says Mathieu’s retirement is "understandable"
FRANCK FIFE AFP

France coach Didier Deschamps says he understands Jeremy Mathieu’s decision to retire from international duty after the Barcelona defender said he lacked the motivation to continue playing for les bleus.

I understand Mathieu's decision, says Deschamps

It’s his decision and I understand it. He could have told me before the squad was announced but it’s true that Jeremy’s experience with France hasn’t been the happiest,” he said at a press conference on Monday.

Following Mathieu’s decision Deschamps opted to call up Valencia’s on-loan defender Eliaquim Mangala for France’s World Cup qualifiers with Bulgaria (7th October) and Holland (11th October).

Mathieu has played just 5 times for France since making his debut in 2011

Mathieu the wrong side of 30

“I also understand that he’s not a young player [he’ll be 35 by the time the 2018 World Cup kicks off],” Deschamps continued. “I don’t want players who aren’t fully committed, and he’s been honest with me. I wish him luck with the rest of his club career.”

Mathieu made his international debut back in 2011 but has won just 5 caps since then. He missed out on France’s Euro 2016 campaign with a calf injury and was replaced in the squad by his now Barcelona teammate Samuel Umtiti.