Abdoulaye Doucoure Everton 2020-21Getty Images

Abdoulaye Doucoure: Everton midfielder reiterates desire to play for France instead of Mali

Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure has reiterated his desire to play for the France national team instead of Mali.

The 27-year-old was born in France to Malian parents which makes him eligible to represent either of the countries.

Doucoure had featured for the French youth setups but has not been called up to the senior team, under manager Didier Deschamps.

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In September, the midfielder was handed a call-up by Mali to pitch his tent with the West African side but he rejected the chance.

The former Watford star has now explained why he snubbed the opportunity, revealing his ambition to play for France.

"Yes, I saw that they had placed me in their list, but I had already told them that today, the France team was my goal and that I was not ready to come to Mali. This is not the right time to represent Mali,” Doucoure told Onze-Mondial.

“People will say: 'He is waiting for the France team'. It's not just that. At the time, it was not the right time. I was young and the African selections are different from the European selections.

“My goal has always been the French team, I was born in France, I have my ties in France. I also have ties to Mali, in my parents' country, which is why I help a lot whenever I can.

“I can understand the disappointment of the Malians, but it should not be taken personally. You have to look at the whole thing, the Mali team has very good players.

“It is my country of origin that I continue to follow. I even have friends in this selection.”

Doucoure started his career with Rennes youth team before his promotion to the senior side, where he featured in more than 75 games for the side.

The midfielder then moved to England to team up with Watford and spent four years with the club before joining Premier League side Everton in the summer.

Doucoure has made 11 appearances for the Toffees across all competitions and will be expected to feature against Burnley on Saturday.