France news

Diaby makes French return

August 29, 2012
By ESPN staff

France coach Didier Deschamps has handed Arsenal's Abou Diaby his first international call-up after more than a year in the wilderness due to injury.

Abou Diaby
GettyImagesAbou Diaby has ongoing fitness concerns

Diaby, 26, who has been plagued by injuries throughout his career, was called up for next month's World Cup qualifying double-header after making it through Arsenal's pre-season and opening two games unscathed.

''Last year, he had a disastrous season due to injuries,'' said Deschamps. ''There is a worry over his physical condition. I hope nothing happens to him. He played 90 minutes at the weekend. He is a very interesting player and is at an age, 26, when he has more maturity.''

Jeremy Menez has also been handed a reprieve by Deschamps after the Paris St Germain forward was banned for one national team game - the August 15 friendly against Uruguay - after a hearing into confrontations with both Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli and his own goalkeeper Hugo Lloris during the Euro 2012 quarter-final defeat to Spain.

Newcastle's Yohan Cabaye returns after injury while Lyon's Maxime Gonalons was also included, though he left his club's training session today early as a precaution after complaining of pain in his thigh.

Valencia's Adil Rami returns in defence in place of Real Madrid youngster Raphael Varane, while Lille full-back Mathieu Debuchy's heel injury has created a vacancy for Lyon's Anthony Reveillere.

The latter saw a move to Paris St Germain fall through after they were not satisfied with the result of his medical, but Deschamps said: ''He is playing for his club, Lyon, so there is no worry.''

Rami and Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny are both re-establishing themselves at their clubs after injuries, and Deschamps also stated that Philippe Mexes remains in his plans should he regain his place in AC Milan's first team.

Forwards Jimmy Briand and Dimitri Payet are the other absentees from the squad which took on Uruguay, while Lille's Mickael Landreau has been added as the third goalkeeper.

France squad to face Finland on September 7 and Belarus on September 11:

Lloris (Lyon), Mandanda (Marseille), Landreau (Lille); Clichy (Manchester City), Evra (Manchester United), Jallet, Sakho (both Paris St Germain), Rami (Valencia), Yanga-Mbiwa (Montpellier), Koscielny (Arsenal), Reveillere (Lyon); Cabaye (Newcastle), Gonalons (Lyon), Matuidi (Paris St Germain), Valbuena (Marseille), Diaby (Arsenal), Capoue (Toulouse), Mavuba (Lille); Benzema (Real Madrid), Giroud (Arsenal), Gomis (Lyon), Menez (Paris St Germain), Ribery (Bayern Munich).