France manager Didier Deschamps has stuck the boot into Ousmane Dembele in a tough week for the Barcelona forward, insisting that the youngster must become more professional to forge a career at the highest level.
Dembele was left out of Barca's squad to face Real Betis this weekend after missing training with a 'stomach bug', failing to inform the club that he was feeling unwell, before training alone on Friday.
I don’t believe there’s any anger towards Dembele from people at Barça but rather great disappointment and frustration. He’s an extremely talented player but quite naive. Plus sometimes being so laid back can be misinterpreted as being lazy. It’s up to him to show he wants this.— Andrew Gaffney (@GaffneyVLC) November 12, 2018
Ernesto Valverde insisted that he did not leave Dembele out of his matchday squad for Sunday's dramatic 4-3 defeat to Quique Setien's Betis to make a point, but France manager Deschamps hinted in a press conference on Monday that the 21-year-old's behaviour has been sub-par for some time.
Quoted by ESPN, he said: "Ousmane has been with us for a while. That's his usual trick to be late, although in his defence I'm sure he'll say: 'I'm not the only one.' Whether he's at a big club like Barcelona, with the French national team or somewhere else, he has to pay attention to that. It's part of the life and requirements of a professional footballer.
"He must improve to prevent it from becoming negative. These are situations that [have been] repeated. The sooner he understands that, the better for everyone."
Dembele's complaints of a 'stomach bug' bring to mind comments made a few years ago by Barca legend Xavi, who said: “In football circles, complaining of having a ‘stomach bug’ sounds like an excuse. It usually means there’s something else going on. When you hear someone has gastroenteritis you immediately think, there’s more to it that that."