France midfielder Adrien Rabiot said he did not expect to be recalled so soon by coach Didier Deschamps after turning down a place in the squad 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. He has won three caps since and shone in Les Bleus’ 1-0 victory over Portugal in Lisbon on Saturday, which sent the world champions into the last four of the 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 to Juventus from Paris St Germain last year had helped him mature.
“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,” the 25-year-old added.
“I won’t give up this place for anything in the world; I don’t want to leave this squad.”
Deschamps, who played for Juve and coached Italy, 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.