France’s Didier Deschamps on calling up Chelsea defender Wesley Fofana: “It was time.”

Didier Deschamps’ first French squad of the year has seen a number of new faces  handed a first senior call-up, notably Chelsea defender Wesley Fofana. The former Saint-Étienne man, previously a youth international for France, has been in good form with the Premier League outfit. He notably scored the only goal in a win over Leeds, and appears to have put his long-running injury issues – a leg break at Leicester and knee problems this year – behind him.

During his press conference in the wake of the team announcement, Deschamps was asked about his decision to bring Fofana into the fray, with the centre-back also eligible to represent Ivory Coast at international level:

“I’ve never made a choice for the sake of depriving a player of that freedom. It’s happened now, it could have happened before, he had a serious injury too. It was time. Jonathan Bamba has chosen another country [Ivory Coast], they have that liberty, they can choose to do so. A national team manager’s goal is to have the best possible team at their disposal.”

Les Bleus take on The Netherlands at the Stade de France on March 24, before flying out to Dublin to take on Ireland three days later, as they kick off their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.

GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin 

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