Deschamps 'wanted Fofana to replace the injured Varane'

France manager Didier Deschamps ‘wanted Wesley Fofana to replace the injured Raphael Varane’ – but instead chose Ibrahima Konate because the Leicester defender’s wedding clashes with their next Nations League match

  • France were forced into a change after Raphael Varane suffered an injury
  • The Manchester United centre-back limped out of the 2-1 defeat to Denmark
  • Didier Deschamps had wanted to choose Leicester defender Wesley Fofana
  • But the French camp allowed him time off as he is getting married on Friday 

Didier Deschamps reportedly wanted to call-up Wesley Fofana to the French senior side as a replacement for the injured Raphael Varane – but opted instead for Ibrahima Konate as their next match is on the same day as the Leicester defender’s wedding.

Fofana is due to get married on Friday, when France are scheduled to play Austria in the Nations League in Vienna.

Manchester United centre-back Varane has been ruled out of the game, and Monday’s match against Croatia in Split, after limping out of the defeat to Denmark on Friday night with a hamstring problem.

Ibrahima Konate (right) was called-up to the France squad to replace Raphael Varane

But reports suggest France manager Didier Deschamps in fact wanted to select Wesley Fofana

French newspaper L’Equipe reported Deschamps had hoped to select Fofana, who played for the under-21s in a 2-0 win over Serbia last Thursday, following Varane’s withdrawal from the squad.

But it was decided to instead select Liverpool defender Konate – who was asked to end his holiday early – to allow Fofana time off for his wedding.

It denies Fofana, 21, the chance to make his senior debut for France while handing Konate the opportunity to feature in the senior side for the first time.

The highly-rated Leicester player is widely expected to one day make the step up to Deschamps’ team.

Deschamps instead selected Ibrahima Konate, who received his first senior call-up

He was in line for a call-up before breaking his leg last August, an injury which restricted him to just 12 appearances for Leicester last term.

France under-21 manager Sylvain Ripoll was full of praise for Fofana after his performance in the victory against Serbia.

‘I had upgraded him with the previous promotion and the injury slowed him down, Ripoll said. 

‘But today we found the same Wesley as before. He exudes enormous power against attackers, he diffuses an impressive assurance. 

Konate has been training with France ahead of their Nations League clash with Croatia

‘We feel that he likes to defend, and it is important for a defender to have this taste. He has a fierce side.’ 

France will be looking to bounce back from the Denmark defeat when they take on Croatia in a repeat of the World Cup final.

The World Cup holders were beaten by Denmark as Andreas Cornelius scored twice to cancel out Karim Benzema’s opening goal in Paris.

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