01.10.2015 14:53 h

Diarra back in France squad for friendlies

France coach Didier Deschamps included Lassana Diarra in the squad announced Thursday for friendlies against Armenia on October 8 in Nice and three days later in Copenhagen against Denmark.

Former Real Madrid and Chelsea midfielder Diarra, who has not played for France since 2010, has been recalled after a eye-catching performances for Marseille this season.

"Lassana has international experience and has played at big European clubs. He's got nearly 30 caps under his belt and has a strategic role to play in front of the defence. He'll bring us his nous and his experience," Deschamps explained.

Meanwhile, a return to the Liverpool starting eleven has seen defender Mamadou Sakho also recalled to the squad. The defender's two goals at the Stade de France in a 3-0 win over Ukraine in 2013 clinched qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

As hosts, France qualify directly for Euro 2016 but play against Group I contenders in friendlies in a UEFA initiative to better prepare host countries for tournaments.

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham/ENG), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Alphonse Areola (Villarreal/ESP)

Defenders: Patrice Evra (Juventus Turin/ITA), Christophe Jallet (Lyon), Eliaquim Mangala (Manchester City/ENG), Bacary Sagna (Manchester City/ENG), Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool/ENG), Benoit Tremoulinas (Seville/ESP), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid/ESP), Kurt Zouma (Chelsea/ENG)

Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace/ENG), Lassana Diarra (Marseille), Blaise Matuidi (Paris SG), Paul Pogba (Juventus/ITA), Morgan Schneiderlin (Manchester United/ENG), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle/ENG)

Strikers: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid/ESP), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal/ENG), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Anthony Martial (Manchester United/ENG), Paul-Georges Ntep (Rennes), Mathieu Valbuena (Lyon)