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Mar 17, 2011

Evra and Ribery recalled by France

Patrice Evra and Franck Ribery have been included in the France squad for the first time since the World Cup, but coach Laurent Blanc admits there are still doubts over them.

Evra and Ribery were identified as two of the ringleaders in the disharmony which plagued Les Bleus' embarrassing World Cup campaign, and were subsequently banned for five and three games respectively by the French Football Federation (FFF).

Both men have sat out the last seven international fixtures - the first of which saw Blanc select an experimental side against Norway. But they will be in contention when France take on Luxembourg in a Euro 2012 qualifier on March 25 and for the friendly against Croatia in Paris four days later.

Blanc admitted he has been impressed by Ribery's recent form after injury, but does not yet know how the winger will integrate back into the squad.

''He has been better physically, playing 4-5 games with problem,'' Blanc told the FFF's official website. ''He is regaining qualities he has lacked for a time, particularly in terms of speed, and played well against Inter.

''He has not yet regained his full potential but he is close, and when he is like that, he is good enough to be in the France squad. As for his state of mind, we must ask the question of him. I was very clear.

''The mood is an important criterion for my selection. It is important that everyone, including him, is beyond reproach at this level. If he is, everyone will benefit. If not, I must make a decision.''

The same, it seems, goes for Evra.

''I spoke with him recently, but it was a very short telephone conversation,'' he said. ''I expect to see him and talk with him because I have some things to say and it must be face to face. I do not know (what will happen), as I only know him from afar. Before you say certain things, you must know the person.''

Evra is likely to be needed in the absence of Eric Abidal, who will have surgery on a liver tumour on Friday.

''This is a thing that has saddened us all,'' Blanc added. ''I spoke to Eric very late on Tuesday when he told me what you know. It made me think about things at a new level.''

France squad: Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Cedric Carrasso (Bordeaux), Steve Mandanda (Marseille); Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Gael Clichy (Arsenal), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Philippe Mexes (Roma), Adil Rami (Lille), Anthony Reveillere (Lyon), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Mamadou Sakho (Paris St Germain); Abou Diaby (Arsenal), Alou Diarra (Bordeaux), Yoann Gourcuff (Lyon), Yann M'Vila (Rennes), Samir Nasri (Arsenal), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich); Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Kevin Gameiro (Lorient), Guillaume Hoarau (Paris St Germain), Jeremy Menez (Roma), Loic Remy (Marseille).

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