France shirt means 'everything' to Laporte


Aymeric Laporte is fulfilling a boyhood dream after meeting up with the France squad for the first time ahead of their World Cup qualifiers with Bulgaria and Netherlands.

The 22-year-old central defender has represented France at Under-17, U-18, U-19 and U-21 levels but is yet to win a senior cap.

He had been tipped to be part of France's Euro 2016 squad but missed out due to a broken leg sustained in March, and during his recovery there has been speculation about him switching allegiances to Spain.

Laporte is eligible for Spain through his Basque heritage and there were rumours he could accept a call-up from Julen Lopetegui if a France chance continued to elude him.

Didier Deschamps called the Athletic Bilbao defender into his latest squad, though, and he insists representing Les Bleus is all he has ever dreamed of.

"It is something I've been waiting for a long time," he told the French Football Federation website. 

"Since you're a child you dream to come here, to be able to enter the team, to be called. Today I am here and I am very pleased to be there.

"It [the French shirt] means everything. Since I was very young I have followed the French national team. I've always watched the games, even the friendlies. It has always been something important to me.

"Every French player dreams one day to be here.

"Obviously after all these years I have some apprehensions. In the first team that's something usual."