Maiden call-up for Monaco starlet Bakayoko
PARIS: France coach Didier Deschamps on Monday called up highly rated Tiemoue Bakayoko for the first time, a week after the young Monaco midfielder played a major part in dumping Manchester City out of Europe.
The 22-year-old Bakayoko, who has been strongly linked with a move to Chelsea and Manchester United, replaces United’s Paul Pogba for Saturday’s World Cup qualifier against Luxembourg and the friendly with Spain after the world’s most expensive footballer suffered a hamstring problem.
“He’s powerful, makes an impact, scores decisive goals, makes goals and is a great allrounder,” Deschamps said of Bakayoko, who scored a thumping header against City to embellish his rapidly burgeoning reputation across Europe.
He is the fifth Monaco player in the current France outfit alongside Benjamin Mendy, Thomas Lemar, Djibril Sidibe and the teenage forward Kylian Mbappe, another who is being chased by Europe’s elite.
Deschamps also called up Lyon right-back Christophe Jallet in place of the injured Bacary Sagna.
Manchester City’s Sagna, 34, had joined the France team at their training camp outside Paris but was diagnosed with a left adductor injury, the French Football Federation (FFF) said.
The 33-year-old Jallet has 11 caps for France, most recently against the Netherlands in March 2016.
France play lowly Luxembourg, ranked 135th in the world by Fifa, on Saturday followed by a friendly against Spain on Tuesday.
France lead their qualifying Group A for the 2018 World Cup in Russia with 10 points, ahead of the Netherlands and Sweden (seven), Bulgaria (six), Belarus (two) and Luxembourg (one). AFP
French players (from left) Benjamin Mendy, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Thomas Lemar, Corentin Tolisso and Kylian Mbappe at a training session on Monday.