Arsenal's Bennacer called up to Algeria squad

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The midfielder only made his senior debut for Algeria in September and has now received a surprise call-up following injury to Saphir Taider

Arsenal midfielder Ismael Bennacer has been called up to Algeria's squad for the Africa Cup of Nations.

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The 19-year-old is a replacement for the injured Saphir Taider and will be hopeful of working his way into the starting XI for the tournament in Gabon.

Bennacer, who only made his senior debut for Algeria in September, will miss key fixtures for Arsenal’s under-23 side over the next month, including matches against Southampton and Chelsea.

Former France under-18 international Bennacer switched his international allegiance in July last year and joined Arsenal from Ligue 2 side Arles-Avignon in August 2015.

He admitted shortly after joining that he chose the Gunners over Manchester City due to the French influence at the club.

"I was a little worried in my head about going abroad," he told L'Equipe.

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"I have never left home before, I thought about staying in France in order to accumulate game time too.

"[Arsenal is] the most French of the English clubs.”

Algeria kick off their Africa Cup of Nations tournament with a match against Zimbabwe on January 15, before playing Tunisia four days later.

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