New France women's coach Renard says 'a page has turned'
Newly named France women's football coach Herve Renard says "a page has turned" following the turbulent departure of Les Bleues' former boss Corinne Diacre.
Diacre was removed from her role at the start of March after her position was weakened following a revolt by leading players.
And Renard told his first press conference as her successor on Friday that he was only focused "on the present", with the start of the Women's World Cup less than four months away in Australia and New Zealand.
"We can pay tribute to Corinne Diacre who achieved some very good results.
"But a page has turned, and it must be the most positive possible," said the 54-year-old, who was appointed Thursday, fresh from guiding Saudi Arabia to a memorable win over Lionel Messi's eventual champions Argentina at last year's World Cup.
"I wasn't here for everything that's gone on before, it doesn't concern me, I'm only focussed on the present and the future," added the two-time Africa Cup of Nations winner with Zambia and Ivory Coast.
Proof of his intention to wipe the slate clean was his recall earlier Friday of captain Wendie Renard.
The Lyon defender in February announced she would no longer play for the team, triggering a player revolt and Diacre's eventual sacking.
Renard was joined at the press conference by Philippe Diallo, the interim president of the French Football Federation.
Diallo is convinced that in Renard they have found the right replacement for Diacre: "He has experience at the highest level, a successful manager."
He singled out Renard's "charisma and leadership required" to take the team to another level "to win titles".
Explaining his decision to accept the new challenge which had taken even his nearest and dearest "by surprise" Renard pointed to the World Cup starting in July and next year's Paris Olympics.
"Nothing beats the major competitions in our job," he said.
"And with the World Cup in a few weeks and the Olympic Games in our country there's no better reason than that to understand my choice."
Renard has little time to ease into his first job as manager of a women's team, with World Cup warm-ups against Colombia and Canada scheduled for April 7 and 11.
Also back in the squad for these two friendlies after a two-year absence was Eugenie Le Sommer, Les Bleues' all-time top scorer.
"We really need her experience and intelligence," said Renard of the Lyon star with 86 goals from 175 international appearances but who was left out in the cold by Diacre since April 2021.
"It's been a pleasure to talk with her, I can't wait to meet her. As they say 'welcome back'."