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Sep 5, 2012

Deschamps delighted by Diaby return

France coach Didier Deschamps has said he is delighted to have Abou Diaby back in his squad after more than a year out of the national team picture.

Diaby, 26, had an outstanding game for Arsenal as the Gunners won 2-0 at Liverpool on Saturday, and Deschamps could start him in Friday's World Cup qualifier in Finland.

The midfielder is back to full fitness after missing much of last season and the European Championship with a calf injury, and has played in all three of Arsenal's Premier League matches so far.

He last appeared for his country in a friendly against Poland in June 2011, when he replaced Newcastle's Yohan Cabaye at the beginning of the second half to win his 15th France cap.

Deschamps said the powerful Diaby could be a major influence in his side, adding: "It's good to see Abou in that shape. If he plays at his best level, as he did last weekend, he's going to become a leader in this team. He has a lot of qualities, he's efficient and he can be dangerous going forward.

"There always will be questions about his physical fragility but he prepared well - he played 90 minutes last weekend. He is on the right path. His potential is huge. He is a very interesting player. He's also 26, more mature, which is crucial for a midfielder."

Diaby said: "I have had good preparation and taken part in all training sessions. We [Arsenal] have played only three games, but I am getting better and better.

"I know I have a big role to play with the France team. I have responsibilities, and it's up to me to take them."

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