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17/05/24 | 9:54 am

Kante makes surprise return to France Euro squad

N’Golo Kante made a surprise return to the French national team after a two-year absence as head coach Didier Deschamps unveiled his 25-man squad for the European Championship on Thursday (May 16), with France captain Kylian Mbappe leading the way.

Kante, who is back to his national team despite not having played since 2022, joined Al Ittihad on a free transfer from Chelsea, where he managed to regain his shape, making 41 appearances this season.

Antoine Griezmann is also back in the squad after missing the friendlies against Germany and Chile in March due to injury. Olivier Giroud, who will leave Europe for the American Major League Soccer (MLS) side Los Angeles FC at the end of the season, has also been included.

Among the youngsters are PSG winger Bradley Barcola, 21, the only debutant called up by Deschamps, who said he had “the ability to make a difference and score goals”. PSG midfielder Warren Zaire-Emery, 18, is the youngest player in the squad.

Real Madrid left-back Ferland Mendy was also called up, praised by Deschamps for having improved defensively, which was “not his strong point”.

Despite injury problems, Real Madrid midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni and Bayern Munich winger Kingsley Coman have both been called up.

Goalkeeper Mike Maignan, who has 14 caps, will be first choice ahead of Brice Samba and Alphonse Areola following Hugo Lloris’ international retirement.

France, who were knocked out by Switzerland in the last 16 of Euro 2020, last lifted the trophy in 2000. They will face Austria in their Euros group stage opening game on June 17.

(REUTERS)

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