Paris: France coach Didier Deschamps on Thursday recalled injury hit striker Loic Remy in his 24-player squad to face crucial 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Spain on March 22 and 26 respectively in Paris.
The Queen Park Rangers’ marksman and Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, 19, who has been a revelation in Jose Mourinho’s back-four this season, both return, while there is a first call-up for 20-year-old Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba.
“He’s not a young or new player,” Deschamps said of Remy who has struggled with a series of injuries at the relegation threatened London club.
“He is better physically and getting playing time. He has also had success scoring goals in recent matches and we know that he has a profile and qualities that are different from the other attacking players,” he added of the 26-year-old.
“I know him well because I coached him for several seasons at Marseille and it’s good for him to be back with us and to grow in confidence.
There are ten English-based players, including four from Newcastle in the squad that go into the crucial qualifiers set to go a long way to determining top place and the automatic spot at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Tottenham ‘keeper Hugo Lloris is likely to captain the squad in an attack heavy formation that includes Karim Benzema, Olivier Giroud and Franck Ribery as well as the in-form PSG forward Jeremy Menez and Lyon’s Bafetimbi Gomis.
Goalkeepers: Mickaël Landreau (Bastia), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham/ENG), Steve Mandanda (Marseille)
Defenders: Gaël Clichy (Manchester City/ENG), Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle/ENG), Patrice Evra (Manchester United/ENG), Christophe Jallet (Paris SG), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal/ENG), Mamadou Sakho (Paris SG), Raphaël Varane (Real Madrid), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (Newcastle/ENG)
Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle/ENG), Maxime Gonalons (Lyon), Blaise Matuidi (Paris SG), Dimitri Payet (Lille), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle/ENG), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille)
Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid/ESP), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal/ENG), Bafétimbi Gomis (Lyon), Jérémy Ménez (Paris SG), Franck Ribéry (Bayern Munich/GER), Loïc Rémy (Queens Park Rangers/ENG)