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I never lost hope of France recall, says Saha
Published : 27 Feb 2012 17:47:03
Louis Saha says he never lost hope of representing France again, as he prepares to make his first international appearance for 17 months in Wednesday's friendly against Germany in Bremen.
Despite general unanimity over his ability and a trophy-laden four-year spell with Manchester United, the 33-year-old striker's career has been blighted by a succession of injuries.
Since 2006, he has played just 10 minutes for his country -- the time it took for him to injure himself after coming on as a 69th-minute substitute in France's 1-0 loss at home to Belarus on his last appearance in September 2010.
Asked to sum up his international career, Saha replied: "Frustration.
"You always want to play. You watch the matches with a knot in your stomach, but it's always the same joy to watch Les Bleus.
"There have been incidents, and you have to get over them. They're tests you have to learn to accept, because there are much more serious things in life.
"I'm still lucky to have injured myself while playing for France, whereas some people can only watch on TV."
Saha accepts that he has fallen behind Karim Benzema and Loic Remy in Laurent Blanc's list of strikers, but with both players unavailable against Germany due to injury, the Tottenham Hotspur new boy is desperate to seize his chance.
"I'm lucky to have been selected and I'll give everything," said Saha, who won the first of his 19 international caps against Belgium in February 2004.
"You have to show your desire. With experience, I've come to understand certain things. I run much less quickly and the league goes much more quickly.
"You have to adapt, understand the game and avoid making certain runs."
Competing with in-form Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud to lead Blanc's attack against Germany, Saha knows that France will face a stern examination against Joachim Loew's effervescent young side.
"They're one of the most dangerous teams and they're the favourites for the Euro," he said. "They're young, enthusiastic, organised and physical. They mix the English style with a style that's almost Brazilian.
"They're a great team to watch. On paper, they're really good, very consistent, and they're developing a game to go and win the title."