Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi has been called into the France squad for the forthcoming international fixtures, as the world Cup holders turn to the 20-year-old to step in for Paul Pogba who has been ruled out of Euro 2020 qualifiers.
— Equipe de France ⭐⭐ (@equipedefrance) September 2, 2019
Didier Deschamps‘s led side are preparing to face Albania and Andorra at the Stade de France on Saturday and next Tuesday, respectively.
The 25-man squad for upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers was announced on Thursday and initially included Pogba, but he picked up an ankle injury in the 1-1 draw with Southampton at the weekend and has been forced to pull out at the last minute.
Pogba’s injury had left Didier Deschamps short of midfield options, but he hasn’t had to look far from London for a replacement, as Gunner’s midfielder Guendouzi has earned his first senior call-up.
The 20-year-old midfielder has been instrumental for the North London club so far this season, building on a solid debut season in 2018/19 campaign to make himself a key part of their Unai Emery’s midfield; most recently his superb performance in the North London derby on Sunday as the home side fought back from two goals down to earn a draw.
His international call-up, if he does make a debut against either Albania or Andorra, will come as the latest step forward in what has been a meteoric rise to the top since featuring in Ligue 2 for Lorient a little over a year ago.
Guendouzi had originally been called up for France’s Under-21 team and revealed that he had to be woken up to learn that he would be spending the international break with Didier Deschamps’ star-studded senior squad instead.
I was having an afternoon nap, someone knocked at my door, but I didn’t hear it, because I was asleep,”
Goal reports Guendouzi as saying. “Then the coach (Sylvain Ripoll) rang me, he said it was me who knocked etc, so I went to see him directly. He said: ‘We need to speak, I really like you, but you need to go.’
“I was confused, I was like, where? He said: ‘The A-team.’
“In my head, I was like wow, I didn’t believe it initially because 10 minutes earlier I was sleeping. I thought I was still in a dream.
Then the coach spoke to me some more, explained the situation that I was with the senior team and it’s a dream.
“Thankfully I took a shower after so that it could properly sink in. I think the coach can describe my reaction better than I can, but my eyes popped out of my head.”
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