Didier Deschamps has denied Aymeric Laporte’s claims that he has been omitted from the France squad due to personal reasons.
Despite emerging as one of Europe’s top centre-backs in the last 12 months, the 24-year-old is continually overlooked by Deschamps, who has even selected the likes of Mamadou Sakho and Kurt Zouma above Laporte.
However, the France head coach, who led his country to World Cup glory in the summer, insisted that his decision is purely based on decisions to do with football, stating that he prefers not to have two left-footers in the centre.
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He told RMC Sport : “I do not understand [why Laporte made those statements]. I do not know.
"I do not have a problem with anyone. When I choose someone it is not for me. I repeat. I only have one thing to say to him and that is that he continues to perform well.
"If you tell me he must be in [Marseille centre-back Adil] Rami's place then I stop you right away. Sorry but two left-footed defenders at centre-back at international level... We have a lot of left-footers and few right-footers."
Laporte had previously claimed : "Of course I don't think it's because of a sporting issue, you'd have to ask him personally, I don't have anything personal against him, but if someone has a problem it's him and not me.
"I could be a world champion... but these are the decisions of the coach, who is not calling me for, I think, personal reasons, and I have to respect him."
With relations appearing to be frayed and Deschamps questioning Laporte’s ability, it looks unlikely that the former Athletic Bilbao man will return to the French squad soon.
After a somewhat disappointing Nations League campaign - that saw them finish second behind group winners the Netherlands - the current world champions were drawn alongside Iceland, Turkey, Albania, Moldova and Andorra in their qualification group for Euro 2020.
As for Laporte, the defender has played 37 games since moving to City last January and has asserted himself as one of Pep Guardiola’s first-choice centre-backs.
This season, he has played every Premier League game of the season and has not missed a single minute of City’s Champions League campaign.