Didier Deschamps will announce his first French national team squad of 2019 later today to face Iceland and Moldova in the World Cup winners’ 1st pair of qualifiers for Euro 2020. Here is who his selection will likely include.
L’Équipe believe that Adil Rami, Marseille’s 33-year-old central defender, will finally be definitively phased out of the set-up and not included tomorrow. The ex-Sevilla man had been in constant dialogue with Deschamps about international retirement at the end of 2019, and that discussion appears to have borne fruit.
1 or 2 Barcelona central defenders?
Samuel Umtiti, despite still coming back from injury and currently kept out of the Barcelona starting XI, is expected to be called by DD, but he might not be the only Catalan club centre-back in the squad. L’Équipe report this morning that Deschamps is to award Clément Lenglet with his 1st ever call-up to the Les Bleus senior set-up. out-of-confidence duo Presnel Kimpembe (PSG) & Raphaël Varane (Real Madrid) are also expected to be there. L’Équipe question the possibility of an inclusion for Everton loanee Kurt Zouma as an extra body too. Deschamps, who likes to have two left-footers and two-right footers, seems unlikely to take five central defenders with him.
Lucas Digne returns
An attacking revelation in the Premier League this season, ex-Barcelona and PSG left-back Lucas Digne’s good form is being rewarded with a call-up, as Deschamps contends with injuries to top choice Lucas Hernandez (Atletico Madrid) & Benjamin Mendy’s continually shaky fitness. Deschamps had lined up Ferland Mendy (Lyon) as his secondary choice in this sector of the pitch, but RMC say that an injury suffered by the Frenchman last night during Les Gones’ clash with Barcelona will rule him out of contention. As a result, DD’s 2nd pick at left-back is a mystery – sources told Get French Football News last night not to be surprised if Kenny Lala (Strasbourg) gets picked in this sector, with an ability to play in both full-back positions. The national team medical staff has in recent days also sought clarification from Manchester City regarding Benjamin’s fitness.
Benjamin Pavard remains
At right-back soon-to-be Bayern Munich defender Benjamin Pavard keeps his spot in the squad, despite a disastrous campaign with VfB Stuttgart. Despite his awful season, AS Monaco full-back Djibril Sidibé remains the favourite to join Pavard, although Léo Dubois (Lyon) & Lala are being carefully explored as options.
Moussa Sissoko is back
Didier Deschamps will reward Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Moussa Sissoko’s excellent Premier League campaign to date with a return to the national team fold. He will be joined by usual suspects Blaise Matuidi (Juventus), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea), as well as Tanguy N’Dombélé (Lyon). Steven N’Zonzi (AS Roma) is not expected to get the call.
Olivier Giroud stays, Lacazette & M.Dembélé to miss out
RMC believe that Olivier Giroud (Chelsea), Kylian Mbappé (PSG), Nabil Fékir (Lyon), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid) & Florian Thauvin (Marseille) are all guaranteed places in this afternoon’s squad. Ousmane Dembélé (Barcelona) would have received a call-up, but has been ruled out for 3 to 4 weeks this morning with a hamstring injury. The outlet claims that as of late last night Deschamps was hesitating between Anthony Martial (Manchester United) and Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich) for the final spot. L’Équipe also believe that Thomas Lemar (Atletico) has a good chance to make the squad, despite his horrendous club form. DD is set to not call up another #9 alongside Giroud, to the detriment of Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal), Wissam Ben Yedder (Sevilla) and Moussa Dembélé (Lyon), because of his belief in Mbappé to fulfil the central role.