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Football | France

Yoann Gourcuff © Action Images

Gourcuff back for France friendly



France manager Didier Deschamps has named playmaker Yoann Gourcuff in his 23-man squad for the friendly against Italy in Parma on November 14.

The 26-year-old, who has 29 caps, was part of the preliminary squad for the Euro 2012 finals, but was eventually left out by former coach Laurent Blanc.

Gourcuff, who has struggled for form since joining Olympique Lyon in 2010, has looked back to his best in recent weeks after recovering from a knee injury.

"He is an inventive player and I do not need to tell you about his technical skills. He is able to make the others play well," Deschamps told a news conference on Thursday.

"He has been enjoying a nice time with Lyon and I wanted to see him in this group before the important matches scheduled next year," he added.

France face Georgia and Spain in home World Cup 2014 qualifiers next March.

Gourcuff was preferred to Manchester City's Samir Nasri who was overlooked once again.

Nasri served a three-match ban by the French federation after he insulted a journalist following the quarterfinal defeat by Spain at Euro 2012 and has been left out of subsequent squads.

"He is part of list of players who could be called. I have made different choices for now," Deschamps said.

Lille winger Dimitri Payet also returns to the squad that is largely unchanged from the one that battled to a 1-1 draw in a qualifier against Spain last month.

Forward Payet, who last played for Les Bleus in a friendly in England two years ago, comes in for striker Karim Benzema, who has been ruled out with a thigh injury.

"I talked to Karim this morning and I doubt he will be fit for Sunday's Real Madrid game. It was wiser to let him recover and not take any risk," Deschamps said.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Mickael Landreau (Lille), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Steve Mandanda (Olympique Marseille)

Defenders: Gael Clichy (Manchester City), Mathieu Debuchy (Lille), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Christophe Jallet (Paris St Germain), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Adil Rami (Valencia), Mamadou Sakho (Paris St Germain), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (Montpellier)

Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle), Etienne Capoue (Toulouse), Yoann Gourcuff (Olympique Lyon), Maxime Gonalons (Olympique Lyon), Blaise Matuidi (Paris St Germain), Moussa Sissoko (Toulouse), Mathieu Valbuena (Olympique Marseille)

Forwards: Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Bafetimbi Gomis (Olympique Lyon), Jeremy Menez (Paris St Germain), Dimitri Payet (Lille), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich)



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