France midfielder Samir Nasri today hit back at those French football journalists who have been highly critical of the Manchester City midfielder’s contribution to the national side in recent times .
The attacking midfielder was slammed by the French press following the 2-1 win against Albania in September’s round of Euro2012 qualifiers, when it was suggested France boss Laurent Blanc was deploying the player too deep, that Nasri was taking too long in possession and that there was discontent between player and coach. Nasri was told by Blanc that he could “do more” to help Les Bleus, to which the player responded that he would prefer to hear from the World Cup winner “face-to-face.”
In the wake of stern criticism, particularly by L’Equipe, who posed the question: “Why did Nasri keep stepping on [Alou] Diarra and [Yann] M’Vila’s toes, rather than getting closer to [Karim] Benzema?” and gave the player a match rating of only 3/10, Blanc defended the player publicly, telling TF1 programme Telefoot: “Samir has the talent. He is a quality player, he possesses great potential.
“He is an intelligent player, he has extraordinary qualities, notably in a one-against-one situation.” Nevertheless, Nasri was dropped for the draw with Romania four days later.
Today, the player went on the offensive, hitting back at his detractors, many of whom have been imploring Blanc to start Sochaux midfielder Marvin Martin, who had 17 assists in Ligue 1 last season – a divisional best – insisting that they are too critical and are trying to create conflict within the French ranks.
“That talk about a pseudo-conflict with the coach [Laurent Blanc] weighed me down -You [the newspapers] killed me” said Nasri ahead of the matches with Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina in Paris over the next six days.
“When i drop deep, you say: ‘You’re too deep’. When I stay high you say ‘You’re not making an effort’. You criticise everything.”
Nasri, 24, also explained what he believes to be his best position – Another question that has been persistenly asked of him and his international manager in recent times – as it is questioned exactly how to get the best out of the playmaker.
Opinions are mixed as to whether he should he start for Les Bleus as a number 10, or playing from a withdrawn role on one of the flanks, where it’s widely felt he carries a greater goal threat, something with which Nasri himself agrees.
“At City I play on the left, or in the centre” continued Nasri. “The only person who says I’m better on the right is Arsene Wenger”
“I might score more goals (from the wing) than in the centre. [But it’s] because i dont want to touch the ball or organise the play as much.”