Charles N’Zogbia has spoken of his delight at earning his first call-up to the France Under 21 team.
The Newcastle star, who signed a new five-year deal with the club earlier this week, has been rewarded for a great start to the season by being called up by the French Under-21 squad for the very first time, for today’s clash with Wales.
Charles also thinks he knows why he has been ignored by France for the last 3 years – read on.
Charles N’Zogbia - punished by France these last 3 years?
N’Zogbia thinks he has been ignored by the Under-21 squad because of his controversial departure from Le Havre to Newcastle in 2004. The 21-year-old has admitted he was upset to be ignored by his country in the past, but is relishing the prospect of pulling on a French shirt for the Under-21s.
Le Havre have always claimed that Nâ€™Zogbia signed an education contract with them as a teenager – and was therefore was not free to sign for Newcastle because of French Federation regulations. At the time of the initial argument Le Havre said Charles had to stay with them as an apprentice for at least two years.
But Le Havre continually refused to accept defeat and took their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Surprisingly, on July 18th this year they were rewarded with compensation from both Newcastle United and Nâ€™Zogbia himself. The player had to pay the Ligue 2 club Â£440,000 and Newcastle United paid Â£200,000.
It does seem strange that now the case has been settled, essentially in the French club’s favor, he gets his first call-up for the French Under-21 squad. Charles told L’Equipe yesterday:
“I am happy the controversy with my departure to Newcastle is now settled,”
“Do I keep something against Le Havre? They wasted me for two or three years, preventing me from playing with the national teams.â€ “But now I want to forget all that. That made me stronger. â€œ “I had no contact with France, and I was a little upset with my country for that. â€œ
“My club reassured me, telling me one day they will call me. Wearing the French shirt is both a proud moment and an opportunity to finally show myself in my own country.”
The versatile Frenchman has been delighted with his start to the season and indeed Newcastle have made their best start for 10 years in the league. Charles seems confident that Newcastle can finish in the top 5 this season and continued:
“This season it’s got off smoothly with the new coach,” “I am proud to be at the club, and I believe the club is proud of me, as I have just signed a new five-year contract.
“I believe we can make something good in the Premier League this season. We aim for the first five positions.”
It’s always nice to hear players praise Newcastle United, but apart from the treatment he received at the end of last season from Glenn Roeder, Newcastle have always treated Charles well during his time at the club. We hope he gets his first cap for the Under-21s this evening – and a full French call-up cannot be too far away, if he keeps up his sensational early season form.Â Â Go for it Charles – and you’re right – the fans are certainly pleased to have you at the club for the next 5 years at least.