France recalls Anelka

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Nicolas Anelka was called up Thursday for France's European Championship qualifiers against Scotland and the Faeroe Islands.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:37 IST
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Clairefontaine, France:

Nicolas Anelka was called up Thursday for France's European Championship qualifiers against Scotland and the Faeroe Islands. The 27-year-old Bolton striker hasn't played for France since the 2-1 defeat by Slovakia in March. He has scored seven goals in 31 games in an international career marred by feuds with France coach Raymond Domenech and his predecessor Jacques Santini. Anelka was called up with forward Louis Saha and winger Sidney Govou in doubt. Saha has hamstring and groin strains, while Govou twisted his left ankle. Defender William Gallas and midfielder Patrick Vieira also had injury concerns. Arsenal's Gallas is hampered by a thigh strain, while captain Vieira hurt his left ankle Wednesday in a heavy challenge from defender Lilian Thuram in training. Gallas has trained alone since. "I still want to play, especially a match against Scotland," Gallas said. "It's not every day you play a match like that." Les Bleus play Scotland in Glasgow on Saturday and host the Faeroe Islands four days later at Sochaux. Anelka was recalled for three warmups for this year's World Cup and scored once, but Domenech did not pick him for the tournament in Germany. "All the merit should go to him," Gallas said. "He continues to work hard, and he is progressing." Anelka joined Bolton in the offseason because he thought his chances were hampered by playing in the Turkish league with Fenerbahce. He previously played in the Premier League for Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City. Anelka was exiled for three years from the national team after falling out with Santini in November 2002. Anelka refused to replace the injured Sidney Govou, saying he should be selected on merit and not because of emergency. He then added to the feud by saying he would only come back and play for France if Santini "begged on his knees". Anelka has missed out on France's 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cup squads, but got a winners medal at the 2000 European Championship. "He (Anelka) is not the same person now," France defender Jean-Alain Boumsong said. "He's a good guy. Maybe there have been some misunderstandings with certain people, and he has made mistakes." Domenech also called up Sebastien Squillaci, making the defender the ninth Lyon player in the squad. Squillaci won the last of his 10 caps as a substitute in a 3-0 World Cup qualifying win over Faeroe Islands in September 2005. "I wasn't expecting it at all," Squillaci said. "It's good to know that Raymond Domenech still thinks of me ... my last cap was a long time ago." (AP)

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