Lenglet called up to France squad for 1st time
Barcelona’s French defender Clément Lenglet (L) celebrates with Ivan Rakitic of Croatia during a La Liga match against Real Sociedad held at the Camp Nou stadium, in Barcelona, Spain April 20, 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/ Andreu Dalmau
Paris, May 21 (efe-epa).- France defender Clement Lenglet was named Tuesday to the France national soccer squad for the first time by coach Didier Deschamps, ahead of a friendly against Bolivia and the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Barcelona's 23-year-old player has been a regular starter this season, making the most of the injury of his compatriot Samuel Umtiti, who also made the France squad.
Lenglet is joined by Real Madrid's Raphael Varane, Sevilla's Wissam Ben Yedder and Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann and Thomas Lemar.
Deschamps said Lenglet was one of those players he had been following for some time, adding that not calling Lenglet before was because Deschamps preferred to try others such as Manchester City's defender Aymeric Laporte, who has not been summoned this time around.
"It is difficult to choose and in that position I have several strong candidates," said the France manager, noting Presnel Kimpembe of Paris Saint-Germain was sidelined due to injury.
Lenglet "has made a lot of progress. He has arrived in Barcelona and he is more of a starter today than Umtiti," said the coach.
Deschamps said calling up Ben Yedde provided something different. "He has scored 30 goals and given a lot of decisive passes. He has scored in decisive matches. He uses both legs and he is very fast. We are not going to count on his head game, but he gives us other things," stated the coach.
Deschamps said French forward Antoine Griezmann asked him for advice before leaving Atletico Madrid, but the coach explained that the player was the one who took the decision to leave the side at the end of the season.
France will take on Bolivia on June 2, and then the team is set to visit Turkey and Andorra in the Euro qualifying Matchday three and four of Group H, scheduled for June 8 and 11 respectively.
France leads Group H on goal differential, ahead of Turkey with six points each.
Albania comes in third with three points, followed by Iceland, Andorra and Moldova.
The 24-man squad is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Alphonse Areola (PSG), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Benjamin Lecomte (Montpellier), Mike Maignan (Lille)
Defenders: Lucas Digne (Everton), Léo Dubois (Lyon), Lenglet (Barcelona), Ferland Mendy (Lyon), Benjamin Pavard (Stuttgart), Umtiti (Barcelona), Varane (Real Madrid), Kurt Zouma (Everton)
Midfielders: N'Golo Kanté (Chelsea), Blaise Matuidi (Juventus), Tanguy Ndombele (Lyon), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham)
Forwards: Ben Yedder (Sevilla), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea), Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Thomas Lemar (Atletico Madrid), Kylian Mbappe (PSG), Florian Thauvin (Marseille). EFE