Wendie Renard ready to return to France duty after Corinne Diacre sacked

Lyon defender Wendie Renard has made herself available for France selection once more following the sacking of controversial head coach Corinne Diacre last week.

In February, Renard had vowed to step back from international duty, risking her place at the 2023 World Cup to take a stand against the ‘current system, which is far from the requirements of the highest level’. She added that she couldn’t ‘suffer any more’.

Renard was joined in such action by star forwards Kadidiatou Diani and Marie-Antoinette Katoto.

Diacre, who had fallen out with a number of high profile players since being appointed in 2017, pushed back against the pressure. The retired international midfielder had even claimed it was a deliberate ‘destabilising operation’ and an attempt to settle personal scores.

But the French Football Federation took the decision to dismiss Diacre the next day.

It had been reported that Renard was prepared not to play for France again for as long as Diacre remained in charge. Now that the change has been made, the eight-time Champions League winner is happy to be considered for selection by the new coaching setup.

“It’s the coach who will select me if I perform well with my club. But why not [make a return]? I am a competitor at heart. I love this jersey and I want to do everything to win a title with it,” she said.

Going to the World Cup this coming summer would be a ninth major international tournament for Renard and a talented France squad that has often underachieved on such stages will again be considered one of the favourites to lift the trophy.

Diacre’s list of controversies was lengthy. Having first fallen out with Renard in 2017 and handing the captaincy to Amandine Henry, a spat with Henry in 2021 led to the armband going back to Renard. Diacre also apologised to Eugenie Le Sommer in 2019 after being publicly critical of the player, while Gaetene Thiney spoke out against her coaching methods in 2020.

Veteran goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi retired from international football indefinitely in July of 2020, citing a ‘very, very negative environment’ and refusing a call-up two months later.

France were seen to underperform at the World Cup on home soil in 2019, with Henry stating in late 2021: “I saw girls crying in their room, I personally happened to cry in my room, because I wanted to experience this World Cup, but it was total chaos.” She also accused Diacre of dropping her as punishment for approaching then French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet over issues.

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