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France coach Didier Deschamps has included Kante and Barcola in the initial Euro 2024 squad


France coach Didier Deschamps included midfielder N'Golo Kante in his initial list of players for the European Championship on Thursday and gave Paris Saint-Germain forward Bradley Barkola his first call-up.

Kante's return was not expected after the former Chelsea player moved to the lucrative Saudi League last summer after struggling with injury. The 2018 World Cup winner has not played for France since June 2022.

Deschamps said Kante rediscovered his form at Al-Ittihad.

“He has a full season, although he played in Saudi Arabia, where he regained full fitness, although not playing in the European league,” Deschamps said when announcing his squad on French TV channel TF1.

In contrast, Barcola's presence in the team was widely expected after his excellent season with PSG.

After joining from Lyon, the 21-year-old winger with great pace and dribbling skills has settled in quickly at the star-studded club. He delivered in the big games and was the main reason why PSG were able to beat Barcelona in the quarter finals of the Champions League.

Real Madrid left-back Ferland Mendy, who has not played for France since September 2022, also returns.

PSG defender Lucas Hernandez, who recently underwent surgery after rupturing his left ACL, has been ruled out.

Deschamps can still revise his squad before the June 7 deadline when teams must provide UEFA with a minimum of 23 and maximum of 26 players.

The tournament will begin on June 14 in Germany. Two-time champions France are in Group D with Austria, the Netherlands and Poland.

The World Cup finalists will play two warm-up matches against Luxembourg and Canada before traveling to Germany.

France:

Goalkeepers: Alphonse Areola (West Ham), Mike Magnan (AC Milan), Bryce Samba (Lens)

Defenders: Jonathan Klaas (Marseille), Theo Hernandez (AC Milan), Ibrahima Konate (Liverpool), Jules Kaunde (Barcelona), Ferland Mendy (Real Madrid), Benjamin Pavard (Inter Milan), William Saliba (Arsenal), Deyot Upamecano ( Arsenal) Bayern Munich).

Midfielders: Eduardo Kamavinga (Real Madrid), Youssef Fofana (Monaco), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), N'Golo Kante (Al-Ittihad), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus Turin), Aurelian Chouameny (Real Madrid), Warren (PSG) .

Forwards: Bradley Barkola (PSG), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Ousmane Dembele (PSG), Olivier Giroud (AC Milan), Randal Kolo Muanyi (PSG), Kylian Mbappe (PSG), Marcus Thuram (Inter Milan).

Reporting by the Associated Press.

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