France call up Guendouzi for injured Pogba

France head coach Didier Deschamps has replaced injured Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba with Arsenal‘s Matteo Guendouzi for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Pogba suffered an ankle injury during last weekend’s 1-1 Premier League draw away at Southampton, while Guendouzi helped to secure a 2-2 draw at home to Tottenham Hotspur in the North London derby assisting Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s equaliser in a fightback from 2-0 down.

Speaking at a news conference at Clairefontaine on Monday afternoon, Deschamps initially refused to rule Pogba out and revealed he was undergoing tests in Manchester, but has since confirmed Guendouzi’s call-up to the senior squad via Les Bleus’ official Twitter account.

“Paul has an ankle problem,” Deschamps said at the time. “He is currently undergoing exams in Manchester and I am waiting for the results. If he were already unavailable, then I would say.”

Guendouzi, 20, has worked his way up from under-18 to under-21 level with France and only made the step up to the Premier League in the summer of 2018 when he moved to Emirates Stadium from Lorient in France’s Ligue 2.

As well as Pogba and the likes of Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe, Deschamps had to rethink his initial plans to select Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte so recalled Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti, and has granted Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane a few extra days because of dental issues at short notice.

“I spoke with Aymeric to get his news,” said Deschamps. “I will not go into details. I have no problem with Samuel and we also had a chat.

“The question was raised when I made my choice, but Aymeric got injured, so Samuel coming back was logical. His situation with Barcelona has not changed, though — he is not playing but he is in good condition.

“Raphael needed emergency dental work in Madrid earlier. If possible, he will join us on Tuesday evening. Otherwise, no later than Wednesday. He does not need to be replaced.”

Deschamps was also quizzed on goalkeeper Alphonse Areola and made clear his concerns regarding the PSG man’s loan move to Real Madrid until the end of the season to create space at Parc des Princes for Keylor Navas.

“I will not pass comment on PSG’s decisions,” Deschamps said. “What I know is Alphonse has always answered the call for us.

“He will be No. 2 with Real. Will he play a little, or not at all? I do not know. If he does not play at all, obviously it could become a problem.

“We will see between now and the October international break.”

France face Albania and then Andorra in a Stade de France doubleheader during this international break.

Source: ESPNFC

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