PARIS: France coach Didier Deschamps has named his first squad since reaching the European Championship final with left back Patrice Evra among several high-profile omissions.
Olympique Lyonnais duo Alexandre Lacazette and Nabil Fekir have been recalled to the 23-man squad for a friendly against Italy in Bari on Sept. 1 and a World Cup qualifier against Belarus in Borisov five days later.
Lille full back Sebastien Corchia could make his international debut alongside uncapped duo Djibril Sidibe and Alphonse Areola. Layvin Kurzawa and fit-again Raphael Varane were also included.
Seven members of the Euro 2016 squad were left out.
Captain Hugo Lloris and Kingsley Coman are injured while Bacary Sagna and Christophe Jallet also have fitness concerns.
Evra, Eliaquim Mangala and Morgan Schneiderlin were dropped and there was no return for striker Karim Benzema.
“I need to start thinking about the World Cup in two years’ time,” said Deschamps on Thursday, when asked about Evra’s omission. “I need to give playing time to younger players who can improve.”
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba could play his first international since becoming the world’s most expensive player after leaving Juventus to return to Old Trafford for 89 million pounds (US$ 117.3 million).
“Knowing him, it won’t affect him, quite the opposite,” Deschamps said.
France squad: Alphonse Areola (Paris St Germain), Benoit Costil (Stade Rennais), Steve Mandanda (Crystal Palace), Sebastien Corchia (Lille), Lucas Digne (Barcelona), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Layvin Kurzawa (Paris St Germain), Adil Rami (Sevilla), Djibril Sidibe (AS Monaco), Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Blaise Matuidi (Paris St Germain), Dimitri Payet (West Ham United), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United), Nabil Fekir (Olympique Lyonnais), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Tigres), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Alexandre Lacazette (Olympique Lyonnais), Anthony Martial (Manchester United)
(Reporting by Ed Dove, editing by Ed Osmond)