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 By Ian Holyman

Stoke defender Kurt Zouma replaces Raphael Varane in France squad

Kurt Zouma has earned a recall to the France squad after returning to regular action with Stoke.

Stoke City loanee Kurt Zouma has been called up by France boss Didier Deschamps to replace the injured Raphael Varane ahead of the upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

Zouma joined Stoke on loan from Chelsea this summer after seeing his first-team opportunities limited with the Premier League champions, and has played all of his new club's three top-flight matches to date.

The centre-back, 22, will replace Real Madrid's Varane, who has an adductor injury, in the squad for the qualifier at home to Netherlands on Thursday and next Sunday's game against Luxembourg.

Zouma, who has recovered from a serious knee ligament injury since winning the second of his two senior caps in October 2015, told SFR Sport: "I hope to play the World Cup.

"That's a goal for me, that's why I came here [to Stoke]: to push for a place. We'll see what happens.

"You know France have talented players in every position, there are a lot of them, so you really have to show that you can be among them."

Ian is ESPN's French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman


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