Eliaquim Mangala has replaced Jeremy Mathieu in the France squad after “an exchange” between the Barcelona man and coach Didier Deschamps, the French Football Federation announced on Friday.
Mathieu, 32, was initially included in Deschamps’ list of 23 ahead of the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Bulgaria and Netherlands, with the coach publicly backing the defender despite him struggling for minutes in LaLiga so far this term.
However, the FFF released a statement on Friday revealing that Valencia’s Mangala has been recalled in favour of Mathieu, whose exclusion remains somewhat unexplained.
The statement read: “After an exchange with Jeremy Mathieu, the coach decided not to keep the Barcelona man in the list of players selected for the next gathering of the France team.
“Didier Deschamps has called up Eliaquim Mangala.”
France play Bulgaria at the Stade de France on Friday, October 7 before facing the Dutch in Amsterdam three days later.