France coach Laurent Blanc has included uncapped Montpellier Hérault SC defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa in his 26-man provisional squad for UEFA EURO 2012 after Younès Kaboul was forced to withdraw with a knee injury.
The news of his selection will come as the perfect birthday present for Yanga-Mbiwa, who turns 23 today, while Kaboul has paid the price for suffering a recurrence of a knee complaint during Tottenham Hotspur FC's final Premier League match of the season on Sunday.
"We have been monitoring him [Yanga-Mbiwa] for a long time and he might have been called up earlier," said Blanc. "We needed someone to make up for the loss of Younès."
Blanc, who announced a 12-man list of non-Ligue 1-based players last week, added that Olympique de Marseille forward Loïc Rémy "has a very slim chance" of making the final squad for Poland and Ukraine after sustaining a thigh injury against AJ Auxerre at the weekend.
Despite a low-key campaign by his standards, Olympique Lyonnais playmaker Yoann Gourcuff has also been picked by Blanc. "He has been satisfactory for the French team," said Blanc. "We'll see if we can get him back on track during our training camp."
France warm up for UEFA EURO 2012 with friendlies against Iceland (27 May), Serbia (31 May) and Estonia (5 June). Les Bleus then open their Group D campaign against England on 11 June before facing Ukraine four days later and Sweden on 19 June.
Provisional France squad (Ligue 1-based players)
Goalkeepers: Cédric Carrasso (FC Girondins de Bordeaux), Hugo Lloris (Olympique Lyonnais), Steve Mandanda (Olympique de Marseille).
Defenders: Mathieu Debuchy (LOSC Lille Métropole), Anthony Réveillère (Olympique Lyonnais), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (Montpellier Hérault SC).
Midfielders: Alou Diarra (Olympique de Marseille), Yoann Gourcuff (Olympique Lyonnais), Yann M’Vila (Stade Rennais FC), Marvin Martin (FC Sochaux-Montbéliard), Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain FC).
Forwards: Olivier Giroud (Montpellier Hérault SC), Jérémy Menez (Paris Saint-Germain FC), Mathieu Valbuena (Olympique de Marseille), Loïc Rémy (Olympique de Marseille).
Provisional France squad (non-Ligue 1-based players)
Defenders: Gaël Clichy (Manchester City FC), Patrice Evra (Manchester United FC), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal FC), Adil Rami (Valencia CF), Philippe Mexès (AC Milan), Younès Kaboul (Tottenham Hotpsur FC)*.
Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle United FC), Florent Malouda (Chelsea FC), Samir Nasri (Manchester City FC).
Forwards: Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle United FC), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid CF), Franck Ribéry (FC Bayern München).
* withdrawn due to injury
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