The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye feared for his international future during transfer tensions
CLAIREFONTAINE, France - Yohan Cabaye says he feared for his international career when he was at loggerheads with Newcastle over a failed move to Arsenal.
Cabaye missed the start of the season and bore the brunt of the fans' frustrations as he tried to push through a last-minute transfer. His lack of match fitness meant he was overlooked by France coach Didier Deschamps for a friendly against Belgium in August and he was then left out of World Cup qualifiers against Belarus and Georgia last month.
"Those are the ups and downs of football, but it wasn't easy staying at home when the national team was playing," Cabaye said Monday at France's training camp.
France hosts Australia in a friendly on Friday and Finland in its final World Cup qualifier four days later.
Asked if he had been worried about his future with France, Cabaye replied frankly.
"Yes, of course, things change so quickly. Even when you're in (the squad) there are no guarantees you'll stay," he said. "It's better to be called up as often as possible rather than staying at home for whatever reasons. I'm full of determination and confidence and hope to be in the team on Friday and Tuesday."
He has not played a full 90 minutes since the penultimate game of last season for Newcastle.
"But I've trained a lot. I feel good, I lost weight over the summer and I'm ready to play," he said. "Maybe not 90 minutes in both games, but I feel good. I played most of the game at the weekend."
Newcastle coach Alan Pardew accused Arsenal of showing a lack of respect by lodging a bid for Cabaye only hours before his team's opening Premier League game against on Aug. 19 — a 4-0 loss against Manchester City.
Cabaye missed it because Pardew said he wasn't in the right frame of mind to play, and he only made his first appearance as a substitute at home to Fulham 12 days later, amid reports that he had refused to train.
Some fans jeered him when he came on, although others backed him.
"My feelings haven't changed. What happened at Newcastle ... their (the fans') feelings corresponded to what (message) the club wanted to get across as well. Given that I haven't spoken about it and won't explain what happened, they (the fans) chose sides," he said. "But that's part of a career, you accept that and I don't hold a grudge. The most important thing for me are the two games coming up and the rest of the season with Newcastle."
He has since returned to the team and scored with a brilliant first-time strike in a 3-2 loss at Everton last week.
Pressed as to why he did not want to explain what happened during the summer transfer saga, Cabaye hinted at further revelations to come.
"Because it's in the past. I think the only person who can explain (what happened) apart from me is Joe Kinnear, and if he's honest he'll say it," Cabaye said. "But it won't come out of my mouth because I'm here for the national team, so I'll talk about Newcastle after Tuesday's game."
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley hired Kinnear as the club's director of football in June.
Kinnear criticized the intelligence of Newcastle fans in a radio interview after getting the job. During it, he also mispronounced several players' names — appearing to refer to Cabaye as "Kebab," which Kinnear later said wasn't his intent.
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