FRANCE coach Didier Deschamps has called up a FOURTH Newcastle United player – despite questioning the club as a destination for the country’s top talent.
Defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa has joined Yohan Cabaye, Mathieu Debuchy and man-of-the-moment Moussa Sissoko in Deschamps’s squad for tomorrow night’s friendly against Germany.
Yanga-Mbiwa replaces Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane, who is injured.
And United manager Alan Pardew will be anxious that the quartet return to Tyneside unscathed ahead of Saturday’s game at Tottenham Hotspur.
Deschamps questioned Yanga-Mbiwa’s decision to join Newcastle, as did Montpellier president Louis Nicollin after the two clubs agreed a fee for the 23-year-old.
“I do not know if Mapou made the right choice – we will see later,” said Deschamps. “I think he had no choice.
“If Real Madrid, Juventus, Bayern were also in for him, I think he would not have chosen Newcastle.”
Yanga-Mbiwa has come off the bench in United’s last two games, the wins over Chelsea and Aston Villa. Those fixtures saw Sissoko, signed from Toulouse last month, announce his arrival in English football.
And the 23-year-old midfielder is hoping to take his club form on to the international stage.
“Already, I am very happy to be back (with the France squad),” said Sissoko, who netted two goals in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Chelsea.
“Recently, many positive things have happened to me. I hope that I will also bring this to the team of France.”
Sissoko feels he’s ready to deliver for France, having failed to make the Les Bleus squad for last summer’s European Championships.
“I feel much better than when I made my first appearances,” he added. “At the time, I was young and shy. I did not dare to take risks.
“If they call me, it’s to play on my qualities.”
Another of Newcastle’s French contingent, Hatem Ben Arfa, is closing in on his comeback, though the Spurs game will come too soon for him.
Ben Arfa was disciplined by the French Football Federation over an incident involving then-coach Laurent Blanc at Euro 2012.
And the 25-year-old faces a battle to return to the international fold, having clashed with Deschamps during his time playing for him at Olympique Marseille.
* Former Newcastle striker Craig Bellamy has no intention of calling time on his international career – because he is addicted to representing Wales.
The 33-year-old Cardiff striker has returned to Chris Coleman’s squad for tomorrow night’s friendly against Austria in Swansea, having last featured in the August defeat to Bosnia-Herzegovina.
When asked about his future with Wales, he said: “I’m a firm believer you don’t retire. I’m enjoying my football – it’s another game for me.”