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Premier League defensive duo Wesley Fofana and William Saliba have both withdrawn from the France squad due to injury.
Both had been called up by manager Didier Deschamps for the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland.
But Fofana has been forced to withdraw due to a reported hamstring injury suffered against Everton on Saturday, with Saliba pulling out after a reported back injury sustained against Sporting Lisbon on Thursday.
Premier League duo out of France squad
Saliba had been having a superb campaign for the Gunners, with his call-up to the national team thoroughly deserved.
The centre-back will be devastated to miss out on the beginning of France’s Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, with the country aiming to get off to the perfect start at home to the Netherlands on 24 March.
They travel to Dublin three days later to take on Ireland, with Fofana equally gutted. It was the Chelsea man’s first-ever call-up to the France national team.
Saliba has been a star performer for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal this season, with Sunday’s meeting with Crystal Palace representing the first league match that he has missed in the entire campaign.
Fofana meanwhile had been a standout for the Blues at the back after only recently coming back from a knee injury that has seen him miss the majority of the campaign.
It has been a mixed campaign for the Premier League pair, but their displays for their respective clubs had both managed to catch the eye of the France boss.
Ligue 1 pair come in
With Saliba and Fofana pulling out of the France squad, Deschamps has turned to Ligue 1 to fill the gaps. Monaco man Axel Disasi and Nice player Jean-Clair Todibo have been called up to the 23-man squad, as confirmed by the French Football Federation.
The rest of the squad is filled with star talent, with AC Milan trio Mike Maignan, Theo Hernandez and Olivier Giroud, along with Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot, ensuring Serie A is well represented.
Also well represented is La Liga thanks to Real Madrid pair Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni, Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann and Barcelona defender Jules Kounde.
Deschamps also has a call to make on which of his men will wear the captain’s armband, with Kylian Mbappe perhaps favourite for the role after skipper Hugo Lloris announced his retirement after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
For the Bundesliga, trio Benjamin Pavard, Dayot Upamecano and Kingsley Coman keep the France Bayern Munich contingent strong, with Moussa Diaby (Bayer Leverkusen), Marcus Thuram (Borussia Monchengladbach) and Randal Kolo Muani (Eintracht Frankfurt) also involved.
Other Premier League faces make the cut
While Premier League defensive duo Saliba and Fofana will miss out for France this month, there are a few other faces from the English top flight who could feature against either the Netherlands or Ireland.
Liverpool centre-back Ibrahima Konate could start amid the absence of the injured Premier League pair, while West Ham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola could line out in between the sticks amid regular playing time for the Hammers of late.
📣 𝐎𝐮𝐫 𝟐𝟑-𝐦𝐚𝐧 𝐬𝐪𝐮𝐚𝐝!
𝗗𝗶𝗱𝗶𝗲𝗿 𝗗𝗲𝘀𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗺𝗽𝘀 has called up three new Bleus for the first round of Euro 2024 qualifiers 🇫🇷#FiersdetreBleus pic.twitter.com/5dT9CP44rU
— French Team ⭐⭐ (@FrenchTeam) March 16, 2023