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Vercoutre backs Malbranque for France

Lyon goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre has urged France manager Didier Deschamps to call up his team-mate Steed Malbranque to the squad.

Former Fulham, Tottenham and Sunderland midfielder Malbranque has been in fine form for Les Gones this season. So far he has notched up three assists in Ligue 1, and scored his first goal of the season in Sunday's 5-2 win over Bastia from the penalty spot.

Vercoutre believes the 32-year-old's performances warrant a place in the in the squad for Les Bleus' upcoming friendly against Italy.

"I hope is selected by the France team," he said. "This is from the heart. He deserves it for his age and his career. He deserves it - he is our great man in the team. He's the best player since the start of the championship."

Malbranque has never won a senior cap for France. The closest he has come to date was when he was called up in 2004, but he did not make it onto the field.

Deschamps is set to announce his squad on Thursday for the prestige friendly against the Euro 2012 finalists in Parma on November 14.

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