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5 players who could make their international debut for France very soon

Robin Bairner
SENIOR ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
1.44K   //    10 Nov 2017, 18:22 IST

France v Spain - International Friendly
Didier Deschamps will be free to test his bench out, having already qualified for the World Cup

Already qualified for the World Cup, France boss Didier Deschamps will have the luxury of experimenting with his squad over the course of the next six months before finalising the team he takes to Russia next summer.

Les Bleus are expected to be one of the favourites as they boast a side bristling with world-class talent.

Nevertheless, Deschamps is set to check out some alternatives in the weeks and months ahead, not least because his side has been hit so significantly with injury problems of late.

A raft of experienced players will not feature against Wales or Germany in the forthcoming friendlies, with the likes of Hugo Lloris, Benjamin Mendy, Paul Pogba and Ousmane Dembele all missing.

That has opened the door for a new generation of France stars to make their way into the national side, and in the days ahead several are expected to debut.

Here are five men who could make their first appearance for Les Bleus in the very near future:


#5 Alphonse Areola

International Champions Cup 2017 - Paris Saint-Germain v Tottenham Hotspur
International Champions Cup 2017 - Paris Saint-Germain v Tottenham Hotspur

This time last year, there was doubt as to whether Alphonse Areola would last at the top level. He had just returned to Paris Saint-Germain after a stellar loan spell with Villarreal, but was struggling to hold down a position in the starting XI ahead of Kevin Trapp, with both shot-stoppers proving to be frustratingly error prone.

Having been given the confidence of head coach Unai Emery over the summer, the 24-year-old has returned a different player. Although he may not have a great deal of work to do, what he has done has been incredibly assured.

His command of his penalty box has improved immeasurably and his shot stopping is of a high level. It speaks volumes that he has kept 11 clean sheets in a total of 16 Ligue 1 and Champions League matches to date.

With Hugo Lloris and Steve Mandanda, who have been the national team goalkeepers for the best part of a decade now, over 30 years of age, he will be looking to earn his first international cap and push his way into the reckoning to play at World Cup 2018.

He has been named in the squad to face Wales and Germany over the coming few days and can expect to return to PSG a full international at last.

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Robin Bairner
SENIOR ANALYST
UK-based freelance football journalist for the last decade, I've appeared in publications such as the Guardian, the Blizzard, When Saturday Comes, but can most frequently be found on Goal.com. I write about European football, and have worked at both World Cup 2014 and Euro 2016.
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