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France's Didier Deschamps backs Jeremy Mathieu, then replaces him

ESPN FC's Mark Donaldson breaks down the latest from social media, including Arsene Wenger's 20th anniversary at Arsenal.
The ESPN FC crew discuss the latest edition of Shaka's Power Rankings which see Bayern Munich lose the top spot.
Jeremy Mathieu
Jeremy Mathieu will not play for France in October after initially being named to the squad.

France coach Didier Deschamps has replaced Jeremy Mathieu with Valencia's Eliaquim Mangala despite insisting the Barcelona defender is "not finished" when he originally named him in the squad for October's World Cup qualifiers.

"After an exchange with Mathieu, the coach has decided not to keep the Barcelona player in the squad for the next gathering of the France team," a brief statement from the French Football Federation confirmed on Friday.

Mathieu missed out on the European Championship in his...

 By Ian Holyman

Aymeric Laporte: France call-up has been my 'dream since childhood'

FC's Alejandro Moreno discusses what is expected from France head coach Didier Deschamps following their Euro Final defeat.

Aymeric Laporte has called Thursday "the perfect day" after celebrating a first senior call-up for France with a Europa League win with Athletic Bilbao.

French-born Laporte, 22, is still eligible to represent Spain as he has dual nationality but that possibility would disappear should he play for France at senior level.

However, after Athletic's 1-0 Europa League win over Rapid Vienna, Laporte said swapping Les Bleus for La Roja Furia was never in his mind.

"My dream was to play for France," Laporte,...

 By PA Sport

Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp speaks to Mamadou Sakho: 'We can carry on'

Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool can't afford to look back on their strong start to the season.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has cleared the air with defender Mamadou Sakho.

Sakho has not played for the Reds' first team since April, when he was suspended following a positive doping test.

The case was ultimately dismissed by UEFA but Sakho was then sent home by Klopp from the team's preseason tour to the US for breaches of discipline.

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Hull CityHull City
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An Achilles injury meant the 26-year-old was not available for the start of the season but he further inflamed things with Klopp by taking to Snapchat last weekend...

 By Ian Holyman

France's Didier Deschamps backs Giroud to regain form, calls up Laporte

ESPN FC's Mark Donaldson breaks down the latest from social media, including the world hysteria over Walcott's performance.
Olivier Giroud
Olivier Giroud has struggled for first-team football with Arsenal this season.

Didier Deschamps has backed Olivier Giroud to come good again after leaving the injured Arsenal striker out of his France squad for next month's World Cup qualifiers, while he has handed Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte his first international call-up.

After being part of the France squad that finished runners-up at Euro 2016, Giroud, 30, has struggled to convince his club boss, Arsene Wenger, that he deserves a place in the Gunners' starting lineup this season.

A toe problem means the former...

PSG's Thiago Silva tips goalkeeper Alphonse Areola for France place

Paris Saint-Germain went down early, but Edinson Cavani notched a brace to defeat a resilient Ludogorets Razgrad side.

Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva has said he believes teammate Alphonse Areola will go on to become France's next goalkeeper.

Areola, who saved a second-half penalty in the 3-1 Champions League win at Ludogorets Razgrad on Wednesday, is in the France squad for next month's World Cup qualifiers against Bulgaria and Netherlands.

Coach Didier Deschamps said the 23-year-old had "been very efficient with PSG," while Silva said he gave his teammates confidence.

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"Alphonse is a young goalkeeper...