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The Arizonan

Coleman promotes Malbranque for France

last updated Friday 28th April 2006, 7:35 AM
Steed Malbranque
Steed Malbranque

Fulham boss Chris Coleman is puzzled why French selectors are ignoring midfielder Steed Malbranque.

Malbranque was in mesmerising form during Monday night's 1-0 victory over Wigan, firing his fifth goal of the season to guarantee Fulham's Barclays Premiership safety.

The 26-year-old was Fulham's only standout performer and on Saturday he will face the side who tried and failed to sign him last summer, Manchester City.

He is likely to attract further bids when the transfer window reopens and the Cottagers are desperate for him to extend his contract which runs out next year.

Amazingly Malbranque - who Prime Minister Tony Blair described as one of the players he most likes to watch - has yet to win a cap for France, an oversight Coleman blames on Fulham's small-club tag.

Coleman said: "People in this country appreciate the way Steed plays football - the Prime Minister loves him.

"A week after Louis Saha left us for Manchester United he was in the France squad, which was bonkers. He didn't improve in a week and didn't get a sniff of the France team before that.

"Steed is a top-quality player and the fact he's being overlooked by the French team is a shame.

"He shouldn't be overlooked, but it's because he's at a smaller club. Forget the fact he's not playing for a top-six team. Everyone knows what we think of Steed at this club."

Source Duncan Bech at PA Sport
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