Deschamps calls up Paul Pogba to France squad

France coach Didier Deschamps has rewarded teenage Juventus

midfielder Paul Pogba for his fine recent form by calling him up

for World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and reigning European and

world champion Spain.

France plays Georgia on March 22 and Spain four days later, and

two wins will guarantee France taking over top spot in a five-team

group from which only one team qualifies automatically for the 2014

World Cup in Brazil.

Deschamps said Thursday that he has watched the 19-year-old

Pogba playing in the past two games and quickly made his mind


”He is a player for the future and the future starts now for

him. I want to see him with us, within the squad and at training,”

Deschamps said. ”You can ask yourself if it’s the right moment.

He’s played 20-odd games in Serie A and six in the Champions

League. I watched him in the last two games. He strikes the ball

well and uses it well.”

Pogba has scored five league goals this season, most of them

from outside of the penalty area.

”I’m shocked and emotional. It hasn’t sunk in. But after the

dream there is the objective, and the objective is to stay in the

squad now,” Pogba said on RMC radio. ”I was at training, and I

got out of the shower and saw I had a lot of missed calls. I spoke

to my (agent) and he was the one who told me. It’s more than

important for me, because when I was small my objective was always

to play for the France team.”

Pogba says he has been picking things up quickly by watching

veteran Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo.

”He knows what to do with the ball in any part of the field,”

Pogba said. ”He knows everything because he started so


Deschamps also selected 19-year-old Real Madrid center back

Raphael Varane, who played with maturity beyond his years in recent

performances against Barcelona and Real Madrid.

”Varane has a lot of potential and in the past few weeks he has

been playing in the center of Real Madrid’s defense,” Deschamps

said. ”H’Se played against teams of the highest level like Real

Madrid and Manchester United within the space of a week.”

Star winger Franck Ribery was called up despite missing Bayern

Munich’s Champions League match against Arsenal on Wednesday

because of a twisted left ankle. Queens Park Rangers forward Loic

Remy was also chosen.

”Franck had a problem with his ankle in the last match, it was

very painful for him the next day and the day after,” Deschamps

said. ”Things are going better for him and if all goes well he

should start training at the end of the week. He probably won’t

play this weekend and then we will see with our medical staff when

he joins up with us.”

Remy has 17 caps for France but has not played for the national

team since November 2011. However, he has hit form after a spell

out with injury, and his speed could prove useful on the wing if

Ribery fails to regain full fitness.

”He’s had a few injuries but he’s been playing regularly again

and has scored in his last two games,” Deschamps said. ”He has

different attributes to the other attacking players. He can play in

several positions, on the left, on the right or through the middle,

that’s why he is interesting, because one of qualities is his


Winning the group is up for grabs as France is level with Spain

on seven points after securing a 1-1 draw away to the Spanish. But

Deschamps is warning his players not to think too far ahead.

”The most important match is the Georgia one,” Deschamps said.

”We have to focus on this match to make sure we have 10 points

before playing Spain.”

Deschamps left out injury-prone Arsenal midfielder Abou



Goalkeepers: Mickael Landreau (Lille), Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve

Mandanda (Marseille).

Defenders: Gael Clichy (Manchester City), Mathieu Debuchy

(Lille), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Christophe Jallet (Paris

Saint-Germain), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Mamadou Sakho (Paris

Saint-Germain), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa


Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle), Maxime Gonalons (Lyon),

Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain), Dimitri Payet

(Saint-Etienne), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle),

Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille)

Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal),

Bafetimbi Gomis (Lyon), Jeremy Menez (Paris Saint-Germain), Loic

Remy (Queens Park Rangers), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich).