Valery: I haven’t joined Tunisia just for the World Cup

Valery: I haven’t joined Tunisia just for the World Cup
Southampton's Yan Valery

by Graeme Jackson

Thursday Sep 29, 2022. 11:00

French-born defender Yan Valery has denied accusations that he has switched international allegiance to Tunisia only to play at the upcoming World Cup.

The 23-year-old was born in Paris and has represented France at junior level, but in this past week he has committed his international future to the Carthage Eagles – earning a call-up to the squad which played friendlies against Comoros and Brazil.

Valery qualifies for Tunisia through his mother, who is a national of the North African country.

“I know that, on the networks, it [the notion that his switch is convenient timing ahead of a World Cup] has [been] spoken a lot,” Valery told the Tunisian Football Federation, as quoted by Afrik-Foot.

“Many people don’t know this, but my mother had health problems, so I took advantage of these international breaks to stay with her and support her in these hardships.

“She had surgery last week and that also delayed things a bit, but in the end she gave me the green light [to join the Tunisian squad].”

He continued, “I know a lot of people say it’s in relation to the World Cup. Of course, every football player wants to play the World Cup, but I see bigger.

“There are CANs [Africa Cup of Nations] that will come and inshallah I want to win as many CANs as possible in the future and go as far as possible in the World Cup.

“It is a pride and a choice of the heart. I was born in France, I could have waited and told myself that I have the potential to go to the France team later, but no, I just wanted to play for Tunisia.”

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