Man Utd star Martial forced to withdraw from France duty after knee injury

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The 23-year-old has been in fine domestic form for the Red Devils this season but will miss out on international duty through injury

Manchester United striker Anthony Martial has been ruled out of France’s upcoming European Championship qualifiers after a recurrence of a knee injury.

The striker tweaked his long-standing injury in the Red Devils’ FA Cup quarter-final exit to Wolves on Saturday and has now been forced to withdraw from international duty with the World Cup holders.

Didier Deschamps has called up Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Lemar as cover for Les Bleus as they begin the road to the 2020 European Championships.

Martial was previously a member of the squad that reached the final of the 2016 Euros held on home soil and featured in their extra-time loss to Portugal after coming off the bench.

He was on the standby list for the World Cup in Russia last year but ultimately missed out on a place in the travelling party after seeing his opportunities limited at club level.

Since then, the 23-year-old has responded by producing arguably his finest season for United yet, delivering consistency under both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford to earn his recall.

However, he has been dogged by problems with his right knee over the past year and will now be forced to wait to see whether he will be fit to return for the Red Devils once the international break is over.

He has previously won 18 caps for his country and netted once, in a 3-1 friendly victory over Italy in 2016.

Man Utd team-mate Paul Pogba remains in the squad and is expected to feature in at least one of the two fixtures during this international period.

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France face a trip to Moldova on March 22 followed by a return home to face Iceland at the Stade de France three days later.

Man Utd, meanwhile remain firmly in the hunt for a top four finish in the Premier League and are in the quarter-finals of the Champions League following their remarkable second-leg comeback against Paris Saint-Germain.

They face arguable tournament favourites Barcelona, first hosting the La Liga outfit on April 10 before traveling to Spain for the reverse tie six days later.

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