France manager Didier Deschamps has praised Abou Diaby on his return to the French national team, following a man of the match performance against Finland on Friday evening.
Diaby scored the only goal in France’s opening World Cup 2014 qualifier – his first appearance for Les Bleus since February 2011 following a series of injuries. This was his first goal at international level in 16 appearances.
“He is a boy with a lot of qualities, he is a complete midfielder.
“It was a good return, I was pleased.
“I hope this will be the real return”
Speaking to L’Équipe, Deschamps also reiterated that there is always a small risk with players who are returning from long-term injuries. Diaby was definitely feeling the effects of a physically challenging game by the end of the 90 minutes on Friday, but should recover in time to face Belarus at the Stade de France on Tuesday. He has played all three games for Arsenal so far this season, but is not yet at full fitness.
“There is a risk for all players [to suffer from exhaustion]; for Diaby, perhaps a little more.
“He was getting tired, but I was not able to take him off as I had already made other changes. His athletic performance, particularly in the air, was fundamental to our win.
“We will see how he recovers, but in absolute circumstances, I don’t see why he shouldn’t be available on Tuesday.”
Diaby himself then added: “It was a good return, I was pleased. I hope this will be the real return.”