Steve Marlet fired up

Tuesday 15 October 2002

Steve Marlet has emerged from his World Cup disappointment to stake a claim for a regular place in the European champions' talented side.

Marlet was omitted from the World Cup squad by former coach Roger Lemerre but has been recalled by new boss Jacques Santini and he scored twice in the 5-0 Euro 2004 qualifying win over Slovenia on Saturday.

Speaking to Reuters after the victory, Marlet said, "I'm not taking revenge on anything.

"But I have the feeling I should have been in the France team on Saturday night. It was important for the future."

Marlet, who was coached by Santini at former club Olympique Lyon, partnered Arsenal's Thierry Henry and Sylvain Wiltord on Saturday and showed what he has to offer in the absence of knee injury victim David Trezeguet.

"Thierry and I learnt that we were going to play together on the morning of the match," Marlet said of the Slovenia game.

"What is good is that both of us like to play on the back of the defenders and go for goal. I think that we can be even more dangerous when we are partnered."

Henry did not score on Saturday but he created the first for Arsenal colleague Patrick Vieira.
"Steve and I are getting along well," said Henry. "We know how to share the work. Every player in this team can score.

"When you see someone like Vieira playing like a striker, when you see a midfielder like Claude Makelele rushing up front for a goal, you tell yourself it's just incredible."

Asked about his feelings after missing the World Cup finals, Marlet refused to blame anyone, saying: "For me it was just a mishap."

When Santini took over from Lemerre in July, one of his first decisions was to give his former protege another chance by picking him for a friendly match in Tunisia in August.

"Jacques is just the same -- with France he is doing what he used to do with Lyon," said Marlet. "Every one of us has had a personal interview with him. He is listening to you and he is open-minded.

"I have improved a lot thanks to him but I must admit that I moved to a higher level when I joined Fulham.

"On Saturday eight out of the 11 players on the starting list play in the English premier league. It's obvious that the English elite championship is far superior in terms of commitment."