Manager of the French national team, Didier Deschamps, has omitted Manchester City star Samir Nasri from his France squad for the World Cup. It is not a hugely surprising move by Deschamps, who is rumored to have an issue with the playmaker’s attitude, but it could be a mistake nonetheless.
Nasri has been in sparkling form for City this season, winning the Premier League and the League Cup after an indifferent season last year. Nasri seems to be a player whose form depends hugely on the manager and how they handle him from a man management standpoint.
The Frenchman was impressive at Arsenal under Arsene Wenger, and Nasri has spoken in glowing terms of Wenger recently. He struggled under Roberto Mancini at City, and Nasri has since said that the management style of Mancini was not a style which extracted the best from him.
Now, under new City manager Manuel Pellegrini, Nasri is flourishing again, and, surprise, surprise, Nasri has spoken very positively of Pellegrini and his management style. So it is no surprise now that the apparent reasons for Nasri’s omission is one of an indifference with the current manager.
The French team, though, looks like it could benefit hugely from having an in-form Nasri on the squad. They have no other player who can offer what he can to the team in the final third of the pitch. Franck Ribery is obviously supremely talented, but he is a different type of player than Nasri. Yohan Cabaye has vision and is technically gifted, but he plays a different role for the team to what Nasri would play.
Mathieu Valbuena can take up similar positions to Nasri and is an adept dribbler with an eye for a pass, but Valbuena is not of the class of player that Nasri is. Antoine Griezmann is a quick player who has emerged in recent seasons, but he does not control the tempo of a game and link the midfield to the attack like Nasri can either.
France will miss not having a player like Nasri on the team and, more than that, a Nasri in superb form for his club currently. It is surprising that Deschamps did not try to manage the situation more and find a solution to enable Nasri to be selected for the team.
Whether Deschamps should have recognized this and somehow found a way to make the situation work or whether he is right to stick to his current way of thinking is up for debate. But the fact that Nasri is a talented player who will be a big miss for the French and could have undoubtedly helped the team is not.