Adrien Rabiot 'surprised' to be recalled by France coach Dider Deschamps after World Cup snub

Midfielder rejected chance to go on standby list ahead of Russia 2018

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France midfielder Adrien Rabiot said he was surprised to be recalled by Didier Deschamps after turning down the chance to be on a standby for the 2018 World Cup.

Rabiot was selected by Deschamps in August, earning his seventh cap in a 1-0 Nations League win in Sweden in early September.

A further three caps have followed, with the 25-year-old excelling in Saturday's 1-0 win over Portugal which sent the world champions into the last four of the Uefa Nations League.

"I was surprised to be called back so soon, but the coach even told me he could have called me back sooner," Rabiot said.

"We had a good talk, I enjoyed the conversation and it freed us both up."

Rabiot said his move last year to Italian champions Juventus after seven years at Paris Saint-Germain had helped him grow as a player.

"The fact of having changed environment, club, country - all that makes you grow. Working so much on tactics, which we're not used to doing in France, is also very beneficial. I feel much better," he added.

"I won't give up this place for anything in the world; I don't want to leave this squad."

It seemed Rabiot's international career might be over before it had even really began when he refused Deschamps' offer of being put on the reserves list for Russia 2018, a tournament Les Bleus would go on to win.

Rabiot emailed Deschamps to say would not "be able to follow the training programme", earning him a strong rebuke from French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet, who described it as a "bad decision" on Rabiot's part.

Deschamps, who played for Juve and has coached in Italy, says he expects Rabiot to be a key member of the national squad.

"I know where he plays ... and that's why he's another player and he's confident, good for him," said Deschamps.

"Even if it went badly for a while, I never forgot him, because he is a quality player. Today he deserves to be here. He's reached new levels, he's more consistent in everything.

"He has always had this technique, but now he also has the volume and aggressiveness."

France host Sweden on Tuesday in Nation League Group 3.