Deschamps selects 3 new faces; but no Evra or Sagna in squad
PARIS (AP) France coach Didier Deschamps selected three uncapped players on Wednesday for a friendly away to Italy and a World Cup qualifier in Belarus, while telling veteran left back Patrice Evra he needs to prove he can still keep performing at the highest level.
With goalkeeper Hugo Lloris injured, Paris Saint-Germain `keeper Alphonse Areola comes in as backup, while Lille right back Sebastien Corchia and Monaco fullback Djibril Sidibe are also in the squad for the first time.
Deschamps has also recalled Layvin Kurzawa, who has been in fine form for PSG, and Barcelona left back Lucas Digne. Both are attack-minded left backs but neither made the recent European Championship squad.
''It's down to Digne and Kurzawa to take this chance,'' Deschamps said. ''It's important to show them that I'm thinking of them.''
But there is no place for the 35-year-old Evra, who has 80 caps for France, or veteran right back Bacary Sagna. Both played in the Euro 2016 final loss to Portugal last month.
''I have to think about the World Cup in two years' time,'' Deschamps said. ''It's down to (Evra) to keep playing at the same level. But it seemed important to me to give some playing time and some responsibilities to the younger players.''
France faces Italy on Sept. 1 in Bari and then Belarus in Borisov five days later.
No. 2 goalkeeper Steve Mandanda is favored to start in goal in the absence of Lloris, who will be out for around four weeks with a left-hamstring injury sustained playing for Tottenham on the opening day of the Premier League season.
Real Madrid's central defender Raphael Varane returns to the squad after missing Euro 2016 because of a thigh muscle injury, while Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette has another chance to stake his claim after being overlooked for that tournament. Lacazette has started the season impressively, scoring five goals in two league games.
Lyon forward Nabil Fekir also returns.
Goalkeepers: Alphonse Areola (Paris Saint-Germain), Benoit Costil (Rennes), Steve Mandanda (Crystal Palace)
Defenders: Sebastien Corchia (Lille), Lucas Digne (Barcelona), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Layvin Kurzawa (Paris Saint-Germain), Adil Rami (Sevilla), Djibril Sidibe (Monaco), Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid).
Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace), N'Golo Kante (Chelsea), Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain), Dimitri Payet (West Ham), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle).
Forwards: Nabil Fekir (Lyon), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Tigres), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon), Anthony Martial (Manchester United).