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Domenech looking at 39 steps to Euro 2008 glory

21 March 2008 02:37

PARIS (AFP) - France coach Raymond Domenech said Thursday he is keeping his options open on naming a 39-man squad for next week's friendly with England and an A-match with Mali, while joking that David Beckham's recall meant Wednesday's rivals would be a known quantity.

England coach Fabio Capello has brought the former Manchester United and Real Madrid veteran back into the fold for his 100th cap.

However Domenech said his presence simply meant that France's goalkeeping coaches would have plenty of material to show their charges.

"That will make their work easier as we have more tapes of him in deadball situations," than of other England players, said Domenech, who added that he believed Capello was well-placed to overhaul the English squad.

"England have a very organised game, solid, Italian-style," he said.

"But when I say Italian-style, it's positive for me. We learnt a lot when French players went to play for clubs in Italy."

On his decision to call up an extended squad Domenech said: "I wanted to see a maximum number of players before the cut off point" for unveiling the final pared-down Euro 2008 squad.

"I want to mull new options and take potential injuries into account while a few players have some little niggles."

Barely had he spoken than Manchester United striker Louis Saha pulled out to be replaced by Huelva's former Liverpool forward Florent Sinama-Pongolle.

"Louis has had a fair period out with injury and we have always been very careful with him as he often has a few little things," explained Domenech of the injury-prone Saha.

Lyon midfielder Mathieu Bodmer, exciting Marseille striker Mathieu Valbuena, and defenders Mathieu Delpierre (Stuttgart) and Adil Rami (Lille) also make the enlarged squad for the March 25 and 26 games at Stade Charlety and the Stade de France respectively.

"I prefer to call them up ahead of time as some play Sunday and then you don't have to run after someone on the Monday," said Domenech, who said that there was no demarcation line between the full squad and the A team.

"No, never. It's a group of 39 players. It's a permanent mix (but) there will only be 23 making the cut for the European Championships.

"They all have to show me they are up for it and worthy of a place."

One man not in the 39 who has more than proved his mettle in the past in winning both the World Cup and the Euro 2000 is David Trezeguet, third in the French goalscoring pantheon behind Thierry Henry and Michel Platini.

"We must try to see some options for the future," Domenech explained while stressing he has not shut the door on the Juventus forward, who scored in the Euro 2000 final win over Italy but who has previously refused to play for the A team.

Saying the 30-year-old remained an "interesting option" Domenech sighed: "It's always the same - I ought to have selected a squad of 40. We have talked and I understand his arguments ... I know him well enough not to need to put him in the A side. But if I need him with the As then I might well ask him.

"The door is not closed."

Domenech also said that he remains a fan of Florent Malouda, who is in the squad despite struggling to hold down a place at Chelsea.

"I am not worried about his future," Domenech insisted.

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