AYMERIC LAPORTE hopes the best season of his life will end the biggest mystery in international football.
Manchester City's £57million French centre-back, 24, remains uncapped.
Reuters5 Defender Aymeric Laporte and playmaker Riyad Mahrez have enjoyed fine seasons for Man City
Now it has been suggested the former Athletic Bilbao star is too much of a loner for France's World Cup-winning boss Didier Deschamps.
Laporte is the only outfield star to have played every minute of City's Premier League and Champions League games this term.
Yet his last France call-up was in March 2017.
And even when Barcelona powerhouse Samuel Umtiti and Marseille's Adil Rami pulled out of the squad last month, Deschamps snubbed Laporte in favour of Crystal Palace's Mamadou Sakho and Everton loanee Kurt Zouma.
Reuters5 Manchester City superstar Aymeric Laporte insists he wants to play for France but at 24 remains uncapped
Reuters5 Centre-backs John Stones and Aymeric Laporte have formed an outstanding partnership for Pep Guardiolia's Man City this term
Rejections don't come much clearer than that.
Laporte, capped 19 times by France Under-21s, is also qualified to play for Spain.
But he confirmed as recently as September his loyalty lies with France.
Even then, though, he hinted he knew it would be tough to persuade Deschamps.
Getty – Contributor5 Former Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte is still waiting for his first senior international after winning 19 caps for France Under-21s
Laymeric said: “As for whether I go or not, it does not depend on me, but the coach.”
French sports newspaper claimed this month Deschamps was concerned about Laymeric's reserved nature.
The thought was he could weaken the unity and spirit of the squad by appearing to be aloof or distant.
Laporte's French youth team coach Pierre Mankowski told L'Equipe: “He is a loner. When he communicates, it may seem awkward, because he has a great perception of his value and he shows it.
Alamy Live News5 Aymeric Laporte has come into his own for Premier League leaders Manchester City this season after joining from Athletic Bilbao in January
"In the end, he’s a good pro who has trouble integrating into the group.”
Nonetheless, Laporte has settled down smoothly enough at City, partly as they have so many superstars from so many nations and Pep Guardiola is a master of knitting such talents together with his man-management and pure footballing philosophy.
Guardiola has also spoken of the extra balance Laporte gives a City defence looking more assured than ever this term, particularly with John Stones' confidence and maturity soaring alongside the Frenchman.