Houllier fury at Abidal call-up
By Patrick Haond
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Lyon boss Gerard Houllier is angry that Eric Abidal has been called up by France.
Lyon boss Gerard Houllier is furious with France coach Raymond Domenech for including Eric Abidal in his squad for the friendly against Slovakia.
The 26-year-old left back has only recently returned from a serious foot injury, sustained in France's friendly against Costa Rica in November, yet was named by Domenech in a 20-man party for the home clash on March 1.
Houllier would have preferred Abidal to have some rest before a busy period for the Ligue One leaders, and claimed that other international managers would have been more sensitive to a club's needs.
"I had a phone call from Raymond Domenech on Wednesday and he explained that he wanted to try out Eric in the centre of defence," said Houllier.
"I suggested not picking him, to avoid a repeat of what happened last November.
"Eric is just back after three months out and will have played three matches in one week before the French squad meet up.
"It would have been cleverer to give him a week's rest, and even the player admitted as much, but unfortunately, once again, they didn't listen to me.
"Having worked in another country, I noticed that there are other coaches who are more understanding with international players who play often."
Houllier was delighted, however, that defender Francois Clerc was handed a shock call-up, despite only starting eight games this season.
The 22-year-old has impressed in Anthony Reveillere's absence in recent weeks, and Houllier admitted that he was pressing for a more regular role in the side.
"Of course I have been surprised by his call, but it is proof that hard work, combined with talent, can produce great things. Everyone at the club is very proud and happy," the former Liverpool coach enthused.
"At the start of the season he was third choice right back, now he is at the same level as Reveillere and Lamine Diatta."