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French connection for defender

CALL UP: Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa has been called up by France

MAPOU YANGA-MBIWA has been added to the French squad following the withdrawal of Arsenal player Laurent Koscielny with an Achilles injury.

The 25-year-old is currently on loan at Roma from Premier League club Newcastle United and has been impressive in his six games for the club. The Italians have won their last three league games since their opening day 3-2 defeat at Juventus.

There have already been suggestions that Roma will look to make Yanga-Mbiwa's deal permanent in January as he looks to rebuild his career after a disappointing 18 months in England. The deal would be made easier by the fact he has said his move to Newcastle was 'a mistake'.

The defender made 37 appearances for the Magpies but spend most of those in positions other than his favoured centre-back role. Magpies boss Alan Pardew paid £8.5million to Montpeiller for their captain in January 2013; but some sloppy mistakes and the form of others saw him in and out of the first-team.

After finalising his move to the Italian capital, he told “My spell in England wasn’t a success. They don’t see things in the same way, it’s a lot more physical over there. Things are different here in Italy. They play more football. The Italian league is very similar to Ligue 1. I will try to show that my time in England was simply a mistake.

“I’ll do whatever the team and coach need me to. We definitely have a great squad and we’ll do everything we can to achieve success. I can also play on the right and am happy to do so, but my preferred position is centre-back.”

With the European Championships being held in France in 2016, the country have two friendlies lined up as they welcome Portugal on Saturday; before travelling to Armenia the following Tuesday.

Didier Deshamps is keen to build on Les Bleus impressive World Cup in Brazil, where the team reached the quarter-finals unbeaten before losing 1-0 to eventual champions Germany.

Having played eight times for the Under-21s, Yanga-Mbiwa has long been on the radar of the Deshamps and his staff. If he features against Portugal this weekend it will be his fourth senior cap.

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