Loaned out by Chelsea, but Zouma replaces injured Varane in France squad

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The defender has been rewarded for his impressive start to life at Stoke City with an international recall in place of a stricken Real Madrid star

Stoke City defender Kurt Zouma has been called up by France boss Didier Deschamps to replace the injured Raphael Varane.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane lobbied for Varane's withdrawal and an adductor complaint has ruled the 24-year-old out of the World Cup qualifiers against the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

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Zouma, on loan at Stoke from Premier League champions Chelsea, will instead join Samuel Umtiti, Laurent Koscielny and Presnel Kimpembe as Deschamps' options in central-defence.

The 22-year-old debuted for Les Bleus against Denmark in 2015, one of two international appearances in his career to date.

France have won four of their six Group A fixtures to sit second behind Sweden on goal difference.