WORLD CUP WATCH: Zakaria Labyad disappointed at missing out on Russia 2018

WORLD CUP WATCH: Zakaria Labyad disappointed at missing out on Russia 2018
Mario Situm (L) of Lech Poznan fights for the ball with Zakaria Labyad of FC

by Graeme Jackson

Thursday May 24, 2018. 10:00

Moroccan midfielder Zakaria Labyad says he is disappointed at having been overlooked for Morocco’s 2018 World Cup squad, but respects the decision of coach Herve Renard.

The 25-year-old, who will be joining Eredivisie giants Ajax from the start of the 2018/19 season, was not included the Atlas Lions’ final 23-man selection.

Labyad, who was born in the Netherlands and represented the European country at youth level, switched his international allegiance and made his senior debut for Morocco in February 2012.

He has not been a regular for the North Africans, but he did enjoy a strong season for Utrecht in the Dutch top flight, scoring 15 goals and registering 10 assists, to suggest that he could be brought into the fold by Renard.

However, this was not the case, with Labyad left to watch his compatriots represent Morocco on their return to the World Cup for the first time in 20 years.

“I had a good season at FC Utrecht. But this national coach [Renard] makes other choices, which I will have to respect,” Labyad said, as translated from Voetbal International.

“When I was at PSV at the beginning of my career, I was 19. I was young an full of emotions, I thought less about things.

“The Zakaria of that time would have reacted very differently to this news.

“But I am now 25 and have experienced the necessary. I do not get so many chances on a World Cup, but this is the right reaction for now.”

The Moroccan added that he is looking forward to challenging for the Eredivisie title with Ajax next season.

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