who are the three novices selected by Didier Deschamps in the French team

Didier Deschamps inspired new blood in the France team with the call-up of three novices for Euro 2024 qualifying. Defender Wesley Fofana, midfielder Khéphren Thuram and Lens goalkeeper Brice Samba are making their debut with the Blues. Never capped in the youth selections, the latter is summoned for the first time at 28, a reward both for his past experience and his current form within the best defense in Ligue 1.

The Congo-born player was trained in Normandy, Evreux and Le Havre, like Steve Mandanda, for whom he was then the understudy at Olympique de Marseille. He took off in the English second division in the cage of Nottingham Forest (2019-2022). Despite the chosen rise acquired in the Premier League, Samba had to return to France, to Lens, where he quickly became one of Bollaert’s darlings.

“At maturity”

“He is a goalkeeper who is mature today, and there he has taken on a higher dimension with the club,” commented his coach Franck Haise to the press on Thursday, referring to a call-up “amply deserved in relation to everything that ‘he gives, everything he releases, and all his ‘perfs'”.

Good on his line, reliable in his kicking game, also known for his spectacular one-handed saves, Samba doubled Alban Lafont, the Nantes goalkeeper selected (without playing) last September. “Brice, there is everything that speaks for him, which does not mean that this is not the case with Alban. I made this choice to see him every day for ten days”, commented Didier on Thursday. The fields .

Wesley Fofana, from the “blues” to the Blues

Followed closely by Deschamps for a long time, Wesley Fofana would undoubtedly have discovered the castle of Clairefontaine a little earlier if he had not suffered from a serious knee injury in October. At that time, the former Stéphanois had just arrived at Chelsea in the shoes of a potential holder, against more than 80 million euros, and believed in the World Cup. But everything collapses: the central defender will not play in competition again before mid-February.

Already the victim of a broken leg (fibula) in the summer of 2021 with Leicester, the player hopes to finally get out of the negative spiral of injuries. Back in force in Chelsea’s starting lineup in recent weeks, he is taking advantage of the international retirement of Raphaël Varane and the injuries of Presnel Kimpembe and Lucas Hernandez to make his way into the selection.

Taulier of the France Espoirs team, which Deschamps promised to strengthen in June for the Euro in the category, the 22-year-old defender may have validated in the meantime a first selection in A. This would deprive him of the possibility of playing for Côte d’Ivoire, of which he is a national.

Chephren Thuram, with family

In the Thuram family, there was first Lilian, the 1998 world champion with 142 caps, then his eldest son Marcus, the Mönchengladbach striker present at the 2022 World Cup, and now here is Khéphren, the youngest son. “They have the same dad, the same mom, but it can be two totally different characters” and their summons responds above all to a “sporting logic”, commented Deschamps.

At only 21 years old, the recuperator has established himself as a strong link in the midfield of OGC Nice, of which he has contested all the matches this season, largely as a starter. The tall number 19 (1.92 m and 82 kg), recognizable by his long braids, already knows the Clairefontaine national training center like the back of his hand: he has evolved in almost all the youth selections, stacking forty- five caps including the Hopes.


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