Controversial France manager Raymond Domenech has thrown another spanner into his team’s preparation by choosing Patrice Evra over William Gallas as captain in the absence of Thierry Henry.
The long running soap opera that is Raymond Domenech’s stewardship of the French national football team took another twist as he antagonised one of his most senior players with some unexpected captaincy moves last week.
France’s captain is Thierry Henry, but in his absence for last week’s friendly against Costa Rica, William Gallas would have expected to appear in the pre-match photo shaking hands with the officials. Instead Domenech gave the job to Manchester United’s Patrice Evra, causing great indignation on the slopes of Mount Gallas.
Henry’s place in the starting XI is by no means assured after a nondescript season at Barcelona, and France are without a natural leader after Domenech chose not to select Patrick Vieira.
Franck Ribery’s interest in the position was rapidly terminated following his starring role in a sex scandal, while Vieira’s replacement, Alan Toulalan has admitted he is not one of football’s great shouters.
Domenech was said to be so vexed by the captaincy question that he was thinking of bringing back Claude Makelele at 37 as a specialist captain.
For all his sulking, Gallas should recall how his wearing of the armband at Arsenal tended to coincide with a significant dip in his defensive form. And his contribution to standard setting during France’s preparations has included crashing a dune buggy.
France’s experiment with Evra against Costa Rica finished 2-1 to the French. Their opening game is against Uruguay on June 11, the first day of the FIFA World Cup.