Laporte set for long-awaited France debut after earning call-up for Euro 2020 qualifiers

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The Manchester City defender is yet to win a senior cap for his country but could feature in the upcoming games against Albania and Andorra

Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte could finally be set to make his senior international debut for France after he was called up to Didier Deschamps’ squad for the international break.

France play Albania and Andorra in Euro 2020 qualifying matches at the Stade de France, with Laporte one of six Premier League players in the squad.

Now 25, Laporte was capped extensively from Under-17 to Under-21 level, but personal issues between Laporte, Deschamps and the rest of the France squad have prevented him from winning a senior cap – despite being established as one of the best central defenders in the world.

Meanwhile, Lille forward Jonathan Ikone receives his first call-up with fellow forwards Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele injured, while Chelsea's N'Golo Kante is absent after his recent fitness issues.

Laporte's call-up seemingly comes at the expense of Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti, who has not made the squad.

Despite being a key member of last year's World Cup-winning squad, Umtiti has not played in either of Barca's games in La Liga so far this season, and clearly has to impress Deschamps again if he is to return to the fold.

Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette is also left out while Manchester United's Anthony Martial and Tottenham's club record signing Tanguy Ndombele are missing amid doubts regarding their fitness.

Former coach Pierre Mankowski has in the past spoken of Laporte's inability to gel with the rest of the squad, describing him as "a loner" - a committed professional, but one who struggles to engage with his potential international team-mates.

French-born but of Basque descent - hence his eligibility in former side Athletic Club's Basque-only system - Laporte had at one point decided to commit his future to Spain, but eventually decided against pursuing eligibility ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

While Laporte and Deschamps' relationship is not thought to be overly positive, it now seems his consistent excellence for Manchester City means he can no longer be ignored. 

Though he did not feature in the Community Shield win over Liverpool, Laporte has not missed a competitive game of football for City since a brief injury lay-off saw him miss three games between February and March earlier this season.

His solidity at the back and ability on the ball meant he started every other game for Pep Guardiola's side in the league and Champions League last campaign.

Laporte could partner Raphael Varane in the heart of defence, with the Real Madrid defender usually partnered with Umtiti.

France squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris, Alphonse Areola, Mike Maignan

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Defenders: Benjamin Pavard, Leo Dubois, Raphael Varane, Clement Lenglet, Aymeric Laporte, Kurt Zouma, Lucas Hernandez, Lucas Digne

Midfielders: Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi, Corentin Tolisso, Steven Nzonzi, Moussa Sissoko

Forwards: Antoine Griezmann, Nabil Fekir, Kingsley Coman, Thomas Lemar, Jonathan Ikone, Olivier Giroud, Wissam Ben Yedder

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