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France call up four new caps for Mali, England friendlies

20 March 2008 19:02

PARIS (AFP) - French coach Raymond Domenech has called up five new faces into his 39-strong squad for full and A internationals against England and Mali next week.

Having explained he wants to mull a variety of options with an extended squad Domenech had to juggle his pack more than expected after Manchester United striker Louis Saha pulled out to be replaced by Huelva's former Liverpool forward Florent Sinama-Pongolle.

"Louis has had a fair period out with injury and we have always been very careful with him as he often has a few little things," explained Domenech of the injury-prone Saha.

Sinama-Pongolle failed to hold down a regular place at Liverpool but has blossomed this season at Huelva in Spain.

Lyon midfielder Mathieu Bodmer, exciting Marseille striker Mathieu Valbuena, and defenders Mathieu Delpierre (Stuttgart) and Adil Rami (Lille) also make the enlarged squad for the March 25 and 26 games at Stade Charlety and the Stade de France respectively.

The games offer the last chance for players to impress on the international stage before the squad announcement for Euro 2008 in early May.

Two notable omissions were those of Bayern Munich defender Willy Sagnol, who was on the bench in Saturday Bundesliga action but whom Domenech described as injured, and Juventus striker David Trezeguet.

Trezeguet, who has winners medals from the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000, has said he has no interest in playing for the A team, but Domenech insisted the door was not closed to the striker and that he remained an "interesting option".

"We must try to see some options for the future," Domenech added of his call-ups.

"Some players in certain positions will call a halt to their careers quicker than others, so we mustn't find ourselves in a situation where one generation leaves and we are left having to urgently find replacements for them.

"We want to see where they are, what they're capable of doing at the highest level," he said.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Gregory Coupet (Lyon), Mickael Landreau (PSG), Sebastien Frey (Fiorentina/ITA), Steve Mandanda (Marseille)

Defenders: Eric Abidal (Barcelona/ESP), Jean-Alain Boumsong (Lyon), Gael Clichy (Arsenal/ENG), Francois Clerc (Lyon), Mathieu Delpierre (Stuttgart/GER), Julien Escude (Seville/ESP), Patrice Evra (Manchester United/ENG), William Gallas (Arsenal/ENG), Gael Givet (Marseille), Philippe Mexes (AS Roma/ITA), Adil Rami (Lille), Bakary Sagna (Arsenal/ENG), Sebastien Squillaci (Lyon), Lilian Thuram (Barcelona/ESP)

Midfielders: Mathieu Bodmer (Lyon), Alou Diarra (Bordeaux), Lassana Diarra (Portsmouth/ENG), Mathieu Flamini (Arsenal/ENG), Claude Makelele (Chelsea/ENG), Rio Mavuba (Lille), Samir Nasri (Marseille), Jeremy Toulalan (Lyon), Jerome Rothen (PSG), Patrick Vieira (Inter Milan/ITA)

Strikers: Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea/ENG), Hatem Ben Arfa (Lyon), Karim Benzema (Lyon), Jimmy Briand (Rennes), Djibril Cisse (Marseille), Thierry Henry (Barcelona/ESP), Florent Malouda (Chelsea/ENG), Sidney Govou (Lyon), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich/GER), Florent Sinama-Pongolle (Huelva/ESP), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille)

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