France coach Didier Deschamps on
Wednesday recalled midfielder Abou Diaby, who has not played for
the national team for over a year, for the 2014 World Cup
qualifiers in Finland on September 7 and at home against Belarus
four days later.
Injury-prone Diaby last featured with Les Bleus in a
friendly against Poland in June last year and missed the
European Championship because of a calf injury.
The 26-year-old, regarded for years as one of the best
French midfielders, has won 15 caps.
"There always will be questions about his physical fragility
but he prepared well, he played 90 minutes [for Arsenal] last
weekend. He is on the right path," Deschamps told a news
"His potential is huge. He is a very interesting player.
He's also 26, more mature, which is crucial for a midfielder."
Paris Saint-Germain winger Jeremy Menez returns after he served
a one-match ban for insulting the referee in the Euro 2012
quarter-final defeat to eventual champions Spain.
"His suspension is over, this is ancient history. I am only
interested in the future and he can be part of it. It is up to
him to understand what he can do and cannot," Deschamps said.
Deschamps, who replaced Laurent Blanc, in July, left out
Newcastle forward Hatem Ben Arfa, who received a warning when he
was summoned to a disciplinary hearing along with Menez,
Manchester City's Samir Nasri and Stade Rennes' Yann M'Vila after
Deschamps had been at odds with Ben Arfa when he was his
coach at Olympique Marseille.
"I am in a new position, I am not his everyday coach
anymore. I know him, as a person and as a player. If I had no
intention to call him someday, I would not include him in the
provisional list," Deschamps said.
Nasri is serving a three-match ban for his conduct during
Euro 2012, while M'Vila, who received a warning at the
disciplinary hearing, was not selected.
France have been drawn in qualifying group H, also
containing defending champions Spain and Georgia.
Goalkeepers: Mickael Landreau (Lille), Hugo Lloris
(Olympique Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Olympique Marseille).
Defenders: Gael Clichy (Manchester City), Patrice Evra
(Manchester United), Christophe Jallet (Paris Saint-Germain)
Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Adil Rami (Valence), Anthony
Reveillere (Olympique Lyon), Mamadou Sakho (Paris Saint-Germain),
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (Montpellier).
Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle), Etienne Capoue
(Toulouse), Abou Diaby (Arsenal), Maxime Gonalons (Olympique
Lyon), Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain), Rio Mavuba (Lille),
Mathieu Valbuena (Olympique Marseille).
Strikers: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud
(Arsenal), Bafetimbi Gomis (Olympique Lyon), Jeremy Menez (Paris
Saint-Germain), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich).
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