Toulalan and Faubert earn first call-up for France

August 9, 2006

PARIS, Aug 9 (Reuters) - France coach Raymond Domenech has opted for youth by selecting Olympique Lyon midfielder Jeremy Toulalan and Girondins Bordeaux's Julien Faubert on Wednesday for next week's friendly against Bosnia in Sarajevo.

Toulalan, 22, and Faubert, 23, were key members of the team who reached the semi-finals of the European under-21 championships in Portugal in May.

Lyon defender Francois Clerc, 23, earned his second call-up for Les Bleus while Girondins Bordeaux's Rio Mavuba and AS Roma's Philippe Mexes are returning also.

Mavuba, 22, has not played for France since the 2-1 victory over Hungary in Metz in May 2005 while Mexes, 24, made his last appearance with Les Bleus in February 2004.

'The coach is banking on the youths as Mavuba, Toulalan and Clerc who took part in the European championships with me are in the list too,' Faubert told the French football federation.

'I see this call-up like a start and not an achievement. I'll go to (training camp) Clairefontaine to learn from the other players.'

Wednesday's match will be France's first outing since the World Cup final they lost to Italy on penalties in Berlin last month.

Domenech had little choice but to introduce youth in his squad after Zinedine Zidane retired and influential midfieler Claude Makelele called time on his international career.

Even defender Lilian Thuram, who has won a record 121 French caps, but has still to make up his mind about his future with the national team was left out.

However, Domenech said he hopes to have Thuram and Makelele back into the squad for the Euro 2008 qualifiers against Georgia and Italy.

'I've talked to them both,' Domenech told a news conference. 'Barcelona are playing the Spanish Supercup on August 17 and we agreed that I spare him for the match in Bosnia.

'But I want to have the best available team with the best available players. We want to qualify for the European championship. We were drawn in a very strong group and we will need a very strong side.'

France were drawn with Italy, Ukraine, Scotland, Georgia, Lithuania and the Faroe Islands.

With Zidane out of the picture, Inter Milan midfielder Patrick Vieira will be handed the captain's armband.

Lyon goalkeeper Gregory Coupet will get the number one spot back as Fabien Barthez is still without a club since he left Olympique Marseille in May.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Gregory Coupet (Olympique Lyon), Mickaël Landreau (Paris St Germain)

Defenders: Eric Abidal (Olympique Lyon), Jean-Alain Boumsong (Newcastle United), François Clerc (Olympique Lyon), William Gallas (Chelsea), Gael Givet (Monaco), Philippe Mexes (AS Roma), Willy Sagnol (Bayern Munich)

Midfielders: Alou Diarra (Racing Lens), Julien Faubert (Girondins Bordeaux), Florent Malouda (Olympique Lyon), Rio Mavuba (Girondins Bordeaux), Jeremy Toulalan (Olympique Lyon), Patrick Vieira (Inter Milan)

Strikers: Thierry Henry (Arsenal), Franck Ribery (Olympique Marseille), Louis Saha (Manchester United), David Trezeguet (Juventus), Sylvain Wiltord (Olympique Lyon)