Payet and Kante make France squad


Didier Deschamps has included West Ham star Dimitri Payet, Leicester ace N'Golo Kante and Barcelona defender Jeremy Mathieu in his France squad for the upcoming international friendlies against Netherlands and Russia.

Payet was last called up for the national team in June 2015, when he featured for 45 minutes in the 1-0 defeat at the hands of Albania, but he has now earned himself a recall following his fine performances for West Ham.

Kante, meanwhile, is in line to make his debut for the Euro 2016 hosts, having been one of the revelations of this Premier League season.

Mathieu played his last match for France in October 2014, but will now also get the chance to impress Deschamps ahead of Euro 2016.

The trio's inclusion comes at the expense of Manchester United's Morgan Schneiderlin, Nice forward Hatem Ben Arfa and Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala.

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema remains unavailable following his FFF-imposed suspension for his alleged role in the extortion case involving fellow France international Mathieu Valbuena, who has also been left out of the squad by Deschamps.

Other notable absentees include Inter's Geoffrey Kondogbia and Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette.

France take on Netherlands in Amsterdam on March 25, before locking horns with Russia in Paris four days later.

Squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Benoit Costil (Rennes), Steve Mandanda (Marseille)

Defenders: Bacary Sagna (Manchester City), Cristophe Jallet (Lyon), Patrice Evra (Juventus), Lucas Digne (Roma), Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Jeremy Mathieu (Barcelona)

Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace), Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United), Lassana Diarra (Marseille)

Attackers: Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Tigres), Anthony Martial (Manchester United), Dimitri Payet (West Ham United)