2018 FIFA World Cup

Published at

In (Rouge et) Bleu!

France coach Didier Deschamps unveiled his squad for the upcoming internationals with Luxembourg and Spain on Thursday, and included five Parisians in his selection, three of which have come from the Club's youth academy: Alphonse Areola, Presnel Kimpembe and Adrien Rabiot.

The three young Parisians, accompanied by Layvin Kurzawa and Blaise Matuidi, are the Rouge-et-Bleu contingent in the France squad to take on Luxembourg in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier on 25 March and then face Spain in a friendly on 28 March. "All five of us are happy to be together in the national team," said Areola. "My playing time is reduced at the moment, but I continued to work and showed I was ready. I was happy to be called up and I'm going to do my utmost as I do every time. The coach puts his faith in youngsters, and he showed that in his squad selection. The established players, who will be there to advise them, will also be important."

Called up in October to replace the injured Eliaquim Mangala, Kimpembe has since put in a number of good performances with his club: "I'm proud, I'm happy, especially to be alongside Adrien with whom I have worked for a long time. There's five of us, including three from the youth academy, so it's positive for the club."

It's the first time five Parisians have been in a France squad since October 2012 when Mamadou Sakho, Blaise Matuidi, Jérémy Ménez, Christophe Jallet and Clément Chantôme all played in a friendly with Japan. "It's quite rare to have five players from the club in the France team, so it's a good thing," Rabiot said. "The club has been criticised quite a lot over there not being enough French players in the squad, this proves the opposite. Presnel and I were at the training centre when the squad was announced. We're both really happy to have been picked. It also proves good players have come through the ranks here."

The Parisians will team up with the squad at Clairefontaine following Sunday's Ligue 1 game with Lyon.

LP/BS