West Ham star Haller has no regrets over France snub after scoring first Ivory Coast goal

The 26-year-old striker came off the bench to mark his maiden appearance for the 2015 African champions with a goal on Thursday

West Ham United star Sebastien Haller said he does not regret ditching France to pledge his international allegiance to the Ivory Coast.

Earlier this month, the France youth star who was born to an Ivorian mother, received his debut invitation to the Elephants’ set-up for their double-header 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Madagascar.

Haller made an instant impact on his debut appearance for the Ivory Coast, after replacing injured Jonathan Kodjia and he scored the second goal that sealed their 2-1 win in Abidjan on Thursday.

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When asked if it was difficult for him to leave France after playing for their U16, U17, U18, U19, U20 and U21 teams, the 26-year-old told France Football; “No since I’m not giving up anything, I haven’t been anywhere. I did not go to the A-team and I do not regret this choice at all.

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“If I haven’t been there, it’s because there are reasons, it’s life, it’s career. I’m glad I didn’t go because, otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to reach Cote d’Ivoire. Didier Deschamps? Everyone makes their choices as they see fit. Everyone makes their way in relation to themselves. You can’t blame something that didn’t happen. If it didn’t happen, it must have been like this.

“I try to avoid looking back or trying to regret things that might have happened. Today, you have to move forward, look ahead, take the opportunities, focus on them and be positive.”

Haller narrated how Ivory Coast coach Patrice Beaumelle convinced him to join his project in the West African country.

“Honestly, he (Patrice Beaumelle) came to see me a few months ago about this. I always had the choice of Ivory Coast in the back of my mind when I started football,” he said.

“It has always been relevant in the sense that I have both nationalities. For a while, it’s true that the next logical step was to go to France because I had known the youth categories and had grown up in France. But we mature, we reflect, a lot of things are happening. There are also contexts which allow a choice to be oriented.

“Today, if I made this choice, it is because I am reaching an age where I do not really want to play on I do not know what uncertainty. I wanted to take what there was to take and really indulge myself. That you trust me and return that trust.

“I’m 26 years old, I want to be important for this Ivory Coast team and not be just an extra and come for two or three selections. I want to try to register for this duration. And I like it. The coach made me want to join the selection and I took the decision.”

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