Axel Witsel Opens Up About Being Left Out of National Team Selection

He was missing from the first selection of Domenico Tedesco, Axel Witsel. So the 130-time Red Devil finally dropped out. In an interview with Proximus Pickx, Witsel now looks back for the first time: “I did not agree with the national coach’s arguments.”

Axel Witsel plays excellently as a defender at Atlético Madrid. To such an extent that our in-house analyst and ex-national coach René Vandereycken called last week for the 35-year-old from Liège to be reinstated in the selection together with Toby Alderweireld. “A central trio of Alderweireld-Witsel-Vertonghen provides more security than what is currently available,” says Vandereycken. After Witsel was not included in the very first selection of national coach Domenico Tedesco in March last year and would not be called up for the international matches in June, the 130-time Red Devil himself dropped out.

No regrets

“I have no regrets,” says Witsel in an interview with Proximus Pickx. “After the World Cup it was already a bit in my head. Then I told myself I would wait until March to meet the new coach. The interview I had with him was very good. He had very good ideas. But when I left the room I had the feeling that I wouldn’t be in the squad in March. That was also the case.”

Witsel at a press conference prior to the match against Inter. — © EPA-EFE

A little later, Tedesco indeed called that he would not include Witsel in his selection.

“His arguments were a lack of rhythm and playing time,” Witsel remembers. “The conversation lasted less than two minutes. I didn’t agree with his arguments when I saw the selection. He was inconsistent. I would have preferred if he had told me that he preferred a different profile in midfield. I would have understood and accepted it.”

2024-03-13 02:00:00
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