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Zakaria adds zest to Switzerland squad

The 19-year-old defensive midfielder Denis Zakaria is the only new face in Switzerland's provisional 28-man squad, with former captain Gökhan Inler failing to make the cut.

Denis Zakaria in action for Young Boys
Denis Zakaria in action for Young Boys ©Getty Images

Denis Zakaria is the only new player included in Switzerland's 28-man provisional squad for their pre-UEFA EURO 2016 training camp in Lugano from 22 May to 3 June – although several high-profile players, including former captain Gökhan Inler, miss out.

"I'm sorry for Gökhan, he is a great player," said coach Vladimir Petković. "I need to be consistent with my reasoning and actions. I had to make some tough decisions, but that's what a coach is there for." The coach today confirmed that the captain's armband will now go to Stephan Lichtsteiner.

Other notable absentees are Fabian Lustenberger, Timm Klose and Valentin Stocker. Petković said: "If you close one door, another one opens."

Such is the case for 19-year-old defensive midfielder Zakaria, who joined Young Boys from Servette last summer and has quickly became a regular. He is joined by two other uncapped players, Nico Elvedi and Yvon Mvogo, who have previously been in squads but are yet to make senior international debuts.

One of the major concerns ahead of the finals is an injury to Breel Embolo. The forward is struggling with knee problems, but Switzerland are optimistic about his chances of recovering. Petković said he will wait until the friendly match against Belgium on 28 May before making his final cut. 

Provisional Switzerland squad for UEFA EURO 2016
Goalkeepers: Roman Bürki (Borussia Dortmund), Marwin Hitz (Augsburg), Yvon Mvogo (Young Boys), Yann Sommer (Borussia Mönchengladbach).

Defenders: Johan Djourou (Hamburg), Nico Elvedi (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Michael Lang (Basel), Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus), François Moubandje (Toulouse), Ricardo Rodríguez (Wolfsburg), Fabian Schär (Hoffenheim), Philippe Senderos (Grasshoppers), Steve Von Bergen (Young Boys), Silvan Widmer (Udinese).

Midfielders: Valon Behrami (Watford), Blerim Džemaili (Genoa), Gelson Fernandes (Rennes), Fabian Frei (Mainz), Renato Steffen (Basel), Granit Xhaka (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Denis Zakaria (Young Boys), Luca Zuffi (Basel).

Forwards: Eren Derdiyok (Kasımpaşa), Breel Embolo (Basel), Admir Mehmedi (Bayer Leverkusen), Haris Seferović (Eintracht Frankfurt), Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City), Shani Tarashaj (Grasshoppers).

Switzerland's Group A fixtures
11/06: Albania v Switzerland (Lens)
15/06: Romania v Switzerland (Paris)
29/06: Switzerland v France (Lille)

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