Gourcuff snub surprises Girard
Rene Girard was surprised to see Yoann Gourcuff cut from France's Euro 2012 squad and feels for his highly-rated defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
Last Updated: 29/05/12 9:53pm
Montpellier coach Rene Girard was surprised to see Yoann Gourcuff cut from France's Euro 2012 squad and feels for his highly-rated defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
Lyon playmaker Gourcuff and promising centre-half Yanga-Mbiwa are among those to been left out of Laurent Blanc's final 23-man squad for this summer's European Championship.
Girard admits Yanga-Mbwia's omission was only a 'semi-surprise', despite his efforts in helping Montpellier to the Ligue 1 title in 2011/12, but he was taken aback by the decision to cull Gourcuff - a player considered to be one of French football's leading lights not all that long ago.
"The team that Laurent has chosen seems to be balanced. That said I was still a little surprised by the exclusion of Gourcuff," he told L'Equipe.
"Since he brought him in to the original 26-man squad I thought he might take him until the end. If he had not been in the 26 then I would not have been as surprised."
The Lyon midfielder's place in France's squad has been up in the air after he endured an injury-interrupted season.
But after forcing his way back in, Gourcuff, who played under Blanc for two seasons at Bordeaux, seemingly spurned his chance to impress during the weekend's 3-2 win over Iceland.
The 25-year-old came under fire as Les Bleus came from 2-0 down, after Gourcuff's 75th-minute substitution, to avoid an embarrassing defeat.
"The press were very critical of him and that's unfortunate," Girard said.
"The problems in that game were not solely Yoann but the collective effort of the team. At the same time a lot is expected of him.
"Personally I do not think that game changed anything. The dice was rolled. We must move forward now."
Yanga-Mbiwa also missed out but Girard expects the sought-after 23-year-old to bounce back.
"It is a semi-surprise but he is still only young," he said.
"He is on the rise, but he is surely going to be disappointed.
"It's is tough but I do not worry for him. Next year when he is playing Champions League for us, or somewhere else, he will continue to grow. He is a strong beast."