Nampalys Mendy has denied claims he once turned down the chance to represent Senegal.
Born in La Seyne-sur-Mer, France, the midfielder represented the French national team at U18, U19, U20 and U21 levels. Nonetheless, he remained eligible to represent the West African giants at senior level.
He was recently handed his maiden call-up to Senegal by Aliou Cisse for this month’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Congo and Eswatini.
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In a no-holds-barred chat with Galsenfoot, the 28-year-old stated he had never snubbed the Lions of Teranga – insisting coach Cisse remains the first tactician to have invited him.
“No, never! I have never snubbed Senegal and I have never pushed Senegal away, either. I was never called,” said Mendy.
"This is the first time that a coach from Senegal called me without hesitation, I came to answer present. After that, there were things that were said.
“But I confess that I am very proud and very honoured to be part of the history of this beautiful team from Senegal. All my loved ones are as happy as I am.
“Aliou Cisse is the only Senegalese coach who called me and explained his project to me. But before he got his phone call, no one else spoke to me, either a manager nor a coach.”
The former Nice and Monaco star has stated he is not scared of competition in the squad.
“Other than what I see on television. But what you see on TV is very different from what you experience in action,” he continued.
“I was able to train for the first time with my teammates and I have an idea of what awaits me on the different African lawns. We have seen the conditions and we have to adapt quickly.
“Competition is everywhere and if, today, I find the competition here, it means that Senegal have an excellent group with footballers who are equal.
“It's part of a player's life and we're used to it. As soon as I decide to come here, I have to expect tough competition in all positions.”
Mendy could make his debut against the Red Devils on Friday in Brazzaville’s Stade Alphonse Massemba-Debat.