EPL

Kante forced out of France team at last minute

By Sports Desk October 11, 2019

N'Golo Kante was withdrawn from the France team to play Iceland because of injury prior to kick-off in Reykjavik.

The Chelsea midfielder had been named in the starting XI and was all set to play in the Euro 2020 qualifying match before reportedly suffering a muscle strain.

It meant Tottenham's Moussa Sissoko came into Didier Deschamps' line-up for the Group H fixture.

Deschamps had earlier surprised some observers by choosing Lucas Digne at left-back, when Lucas Hernandez had been tipped to recover from a knee problem to start.

Olivier Giroud was the focus point in attack, supported by Antoine Griezmann, with Kylian Mbappe on the injured list along with midfield playmaker Paul Pogba and Hugo Lloris, the goalkeeper and regular captain of Les Bleus.

Kante could also miss France’s qualifier against Turkey on Monday, and Chelsea boss Frank Lampard will hope the former Leicester man is fit for the Blues' next Premier League clash, their home game against Newcastle on Saturday, October 19.

The 28-year-old has started just three of Chelsea's opening eight league games after being troubled by an ankle injury in the early weeks of the season.

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    PABLO SARABIA

    Slightly older than some of the new faces at 27, Sarabia was made to wait until after his big move to Paris Saint-Germain in July for a first call-up. It will not be easy to hold down a place at PSG and nor has a fledgling international career been straightforward, but injuries saw Sarabia, an exciting, effective creator, recalled this month and he scored against Malta.

    DANI OLMO

    Winger Olmo left Barcelona's academy for Dinamo Zagreb in 2014 but, still just 21, looks all the better for the first-team opportunities. He starred for the Under-21s and then scored three minutes into his senior debut. Olmo is already fielding questions on a potential return to Barca and, whether now or in the future, looks set to be a Spain regular.

    MIKEL OYARZABAL

    Although 22-year-old Oyarzabal had featured once for Spain before Moreno took charge, he never featured under Luis Enrique - earning his sole cap for Vicente del Bosque ahead of Euro 2016, for which he did not make the squad. After a couple of seasons scoring regularly in LaLiga, however, Oyarzabal is back in the mix and opened his international account against Sweden in June.

    GERARD MORENO

    Sarabia may have been made to wait for senior recognition, but Gerard - also 27 - is a true late bloomer. Uncapped at youth level, the Villarreal striker debuted in October and scored three times across the November international break. Gerard has netted eight goals in LaLiga already this season and will hope to retain his form with the Euros approaching fast.

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