Sagna and Alessandrini called up to France squad

France coach Didier Deschamps recalled Arsenal defender Bacary

Sagna on Thursday and handed a first call up to winger Romain

Alessandrini for next Wednesday’s friendly match against


Sagna missed out on last year’s European Championship while

recovering from a broken leg and is set to make his first

international appearance since September 2011. Alessandrini has

been in outstanding form this season for Rennes.

”Bacary had a big injury, but since he came back he’s been

playing regularly. There’s a lot of competition for places on that

right side, but he’s used to the highest level,” Deschamps said.

”I wanted to see him playing again for France and I wanted him to

feel the faith I have in him with regards to the French team.”

France has played well since Deschamps took charge after Euro

2012, securing a 1-1 draw at European champion Spain in World Cup

qualifying and winning 2-1 at Italy in a friendly match.

Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, who scored in Wednesday’s

1-1 draw against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semifinals, could

make his first international appearance at Stade de France.

”I didn’t wait for yesterday’s game, to be honest, I had

already drawn up my list,” Deschamps said. ”He’s been playing a

lot more since the start of the year. He’s a young player with a

great future.”

The skillful Alessandrini has scored nine league goals for

Rennes in his first season in France’s top league – many of them

spectacular goals from long range.

”I’ve been watching him for quite a while now and his

performances for Rennes have been of the highest quality,”

Deschamps said. ”He scores goals and he sets them up, he has very

good technique. It’s a chance for him. He’s going to discover a new

level. The expectation level will be higher, so he will have to be

ready for that.”

Although Deschamps called up Varane, he overlooked 19-year-old

midfielder Paul Pogba – for now – despite his fine recent form for

Italian champion Juventus.

”Pogba has a lot of potential. He’s playing in his first full

season at the highest level and he’s still young,” Deschamps said.

”But he’s a player that I will continue to follow.”

Deschamps expects a stern test against Euro 2012 semifinalist


”I haven’t had the players available for the last three months,

it will be a good test for us,” Deschamps said. ”There’s a lot of

expectation from the fans after the way we played in Spain and

Italy. It’s important that the players show the desire on the



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

Mandanda (Marseille)

Defenders: Gael Clichy (Manchester City), Mathieu Debuchy

(Lille), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Laurent Koscielny

(Arsenal), Adil Rami (Valencia), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Mamadou

Sakho (Paris Saint-Germain), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)

Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle), Etienne Capoue

(Toulouse), Maxime Gonalons (Lyon), Blaise Matuidi (Paris

Saint-Germain), Moussa Sissoko (Toulouse), Mathieu Valbuena

(Marseille), Romain Alessandrini (Rennes)

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

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

Ribery (Bayern Munich)