Payet back with France squad after Fekir's withdrawal
PARIS (AP) — Marseille winger Dimitri Payet was called up Monday by France coach Didier Deschamps for upcoming matches against Iceland and Germany as a replacement for the injured Nabil Fekir.
Payet missed the World Cup because of injury and has not played with the national squad since a 2-1 win over Belarus in qualifying last October.
Payet, the French league's top playmaker last season, was widely expected to travel to Russia but was eventually left out of the squad that won the World Cup. He was injured during Marseille's Europa League final loss to Atletico Madrid.
Having recovered from his thigh injury, Payet has been in very good form since the start of the new season, scoring four goals and delivering four assists in nine games.
"He has a big influence on the way his team plays," Deschamps said. "He scores, and he makes others score, too. This is what you expect from a creative player."
Fekir picked up a left ankle injury on Sunday with his club Lyon in a 5-0 loss at Paris Saint-Germain. The French soccer federation said in a statement on Monday that he underwent exams at France's training camp and that he will miss both games.
France plays Iceland in a friendly on Thursday and hosts Germany in the UEFA Nations League on Oct. 16 at Stade de France.