Poland's French-born players
Damien Perquis and Ludovic Obraniak on Tuesday played down
reports of a split in their Euro 2012 squad, saying they felt
integrated and at home despite speaking little or no Polish.
There have been rumblings in recent months about coach
Franciszek Smuda's move to import a number of German and
French-based players with connections to Poland into the
Perquis and Obraniak (pictured) were born in France and qualified to
play for Poland through their grandparents.
At a news conference conducted mainly in French on Tuesday,
Obraniak denied telling French sports magazine Surface that he
felt uncomfortable in the Polish setup and several players did
not want him there.
"I've only learned about all this from you. I'm shocked and
disgusted. I will say this once and that is it. I feel Polish
and I like my team-mates," he said ahead of their Euro 2012
Group A opener against Greece on Friday.
Former Poland goalkeeper Jan Tomaszewski, famous for denying
England in World Cup qualifying at Wembley in 1973, said last
month that he would not support a national side that contained
"Germans and Frenchmen".
One Polish journalist at Tuesday's briefing called for
Obraniak, who speaks only a handful of words in Polish, to sing
a part of the national anthem.
Another French-based player, former Wisla Krakow midfielder
Dariusz Dudka, defended the inclusion of Obraniak, who played a
friendly for France Under-21s before opting to use his
grandparents to qualify for Polish citizenship last year.
"It is not important whether you speak Polish or not, if you
have a Polish passport then you can play," said Dudka, who is
now at Auxerre.
"I'm not surprised that he doesn't speak Polish yet. I know
how hard it was for me for the first two years in France and I
had the language around me daily - Ludovic has it even harder."
Dudka also called for Poles to get behind the national side.
"I have the feeling that some [Polish] fans are for us, some
are a bit against us. Hopefully, when it comes down to the game [on Friday], everyone will stand behind us."
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