Anelka defended by Paclet
Striker 'not the problem for France
Last Updated: 29/08/10 9:05pm
Anelka: Backed by Paclet
Former France team doctor Jean-Pierre Paclet has insisted Nicolas Anelka was not the problem at the World Cup.
Les Bleus endured a disastrous campaign on and off the pitch as they not only failed to advance past the group phase but were also beset by dressing-room disharmony.
Anelka was sent home following a bust-up with then manager Raymond Domenech, and the rest of the squad later refused to train.
But Paclet, in extracts from his book L'Implosion reproduced in the Sunday Times, has played down the player's perceived disruptive influence and insisted Domenech was aware of the 31-year-old's feelings on his lone striker role, which appears to have been the root cause of the dispute.
"When Domenech went to see Anelka at Chelsea last season, Anelka warned him, let him know that there was no point taking him to South Africa if it was to play him in a position he didn't like," he wrote.
"The problem with the French team wasn't Anelka. You have to understand he is loved within the squad, immensely popular, even if he's introverted."
One French player not to make the World Cup squad was Samir Nasri but Paclet has criticised the Arsenal midfielder for his attitude.
Paclet alleges that the 23-year-old was a source of a disquiet which dates back further than June after upsetting captain Patrice Evra and senior professionals Thierry Henry, William Gallas and former Marseille team-mate Franck Ribery.
"Here was a kid with a dozen caps looking down on players with a hundred. Scarcely believable," Paclet claimed.
"His behaviour gets on the nerves of almost everybody and he has the gift of really annoying Henry, Gallas and Patrice Evra.
"Most of all, the relationship between Nasri and Ribery was very tense, from the time they were together at Marseille. They were more like kids in a playground rather than professionals on a pitch.
"Ribery would cause general laughter if, say, he put salt in my coffee. If he did it to Nasri, there would be no sense of humour from him."