Gourcuff returns for France against Italy
PARIS (AFP) –
France coach Didier Deschamps on Thursday recalled midfielder Yoann Gourcuff for his squad to play Italy in a friendly international in Parma on November 14.
The 26-year-old midfielder has only recently battled his way back to top form with club side Lyon after being sidelined for several months with a series of injuries.
He last played for France in the 3-2 win over Israel in a friendly match on May 27, after which he was left out of then-coach Laurent Blanc’s squad for the Euro 2012 championships.
The way for Gourcoff’s return was cleared with the news from Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho that striker Karim Benzema was on the injury list with a groin strain and would not be fit in time for Sunday’s league match in Spain.
“He made a good start to the season in August and he is at ease in Lyon,” said Deschamps of Gourcuff.
“I wanted to see how he does in the squad ahead of the big games that we will face next year.
“He can play up front or deeper and he is such a creative player who can bring the best out of others.
“When he is on the top of his game, as he is at the moment, he can be an important member of any team.”
Also called back into the squad is Lille forward Dimitri Payet, despite his sides 6-1 thrashing away to Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday.
“That (match) was not what I judge him by,” said Deschamps. “There were plenty of matches before that when he played well. He is capable of making a difference.”
Elsewhere, Deschamps largely stuck by the players who drew with world champions Spain in a World Cup qualifier in Madrid last month.
The France squad for the friendly international against Italy in Parma on November 14:
Hugo Lloris (Tottenham/ENG), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Mickael Landreau (Lille)
Christophe Jallet (Paris SG), Mamadou Sakho (Paris SG), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (Montpellier), Gael Clichy (Manchester City/ENG), Patrice Evra (Manchester United/ENG), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal/ENG), Adil Rami (Valence/ESP), Mathieu Debuchy (Lille)
Etienne Capoue (Toulouse), Maxime Gonalons (Lyon), Blaise Matuidi (Paris SG), Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle/ENG), Yoann Gourcuff (Lyon), Moussa Sissoko (Toulouse)
Olivier Giroud (Arsenal/ENG), Bafetimbi Gomis (Lyon), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich/GER), Jeremy Menez (Paris SG), Dimitri Payet (Lille)