Maiden call-up for Monaco star­let Bakayoko

New Straits Times - - Sport -

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

AFP PIC

French play­ers (from left) Ben­jamin Mendy, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Thomas Le­mar, Corentin Tolisso and Kylian Mbappe at a train­ing ses­sion on Mon­day.

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