Juventus youngster Pogba receives first call for France squad
France announced squad for World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Spain late March
Reuters, Thursday 14 Mar 2013
uventus' Paul Pogba reacts during the Italian Serie A soccer match against Catania at the Juventus stadium in Turin March 10, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)
Juventus teenager Paul Pogba earned his first France call-up as Les Bleus face Georgia and Spain in World Cup qualifiers later this month.
Midfielder Pogba, who will celebrate his 20th birthday on Friday, joined Juventus from Manchester United this season and had an immediate impact, scoring five goals from 20 Serie A games.
"I'm not taking him just to visit the Clairefontaine castle (France's training camp base)," coach Didier Deschamps told a news conference on Thursday.
"I have been following him for a while, he's a player of the future. I want to see him with us at training, in the squad," added Deschamps, who said Pogba's shooting abilities were one of the reasons why he had been selected.
Deschamps also included Loic Remy in his 24-man squad, rewarding the forward for his good spell at Queens Park Rangers, after he joined the Premier League side from Olympique Marseille in January.
France take on Georgia on March 22 before hosting Spain, who face Finland next Friday.
Real Madrid's Raphael Varane was called up for the third time although the centre back has yet to win a cap after leaving the squad injured the first two times.
"He now plays regularly and in the past weeks he has become a regular starter, playing three games in a week against Barca and Manchester United," said Deschamps.
Franck Ribery, who missed Bayern Munich's Champions League clash against Arsenal on Wednesday because of an ankle injury, has been included in the hopes he will have recovered.
"He is supposed to start running again by the end of the week," Deschamps said.
France are second in Group I with seven points from three games, behind Spain on goal difference.
The clash with Spain on March 26 could be decisive as both teams will then have only three games left against second-tier sides.
Goalkeepers: Mickael Landreau (Bastia), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Steve Mandanda (Olympique Marseille)
Defenders: Gael Clichy (Manchester City), Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle United), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Christophe Jallet (Paris St Germain), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Mamadou Sakho (Paris St Germain), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Mapou Yanga-M'Biwa (Newcastle United)
Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle United), Maxime Gonalons (Olympique Lyon), Blaise Matuidi (Paris St Germain), Dimitri Payet (Lille), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United), Mathieu Valbuena (Olympique Marseille)
Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Bafetimbi Gomis (Olympique Lyon), Jeremy Menez (Paris St Germain), Loic Remy (Queens Park Rangers), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich)
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