Football

Paul Pogba, Tanguy Ndombele test positive for Covid-19

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba was omitted from the France squad announced yesterday for next month's Nations League matches against Sweden and Croatia, after testing positive for Covid-19, coach Didier Deschamps said.

French daily L'Equipe reported that Tottenham Hotspur's 23-year-old midfielder Tanguy Ndombele, who was in the last France squad, also tested positive for the coronavirus.

Pogba has been replaced by Rennes' Eduardo Camavinga, who was called up for the first time alongside Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar and RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano.

"Unfortunately, he underwent a test yesterday (Wednesday) which was revealed to be positive this morning," Deschamps said of Pogba's absence from the group.

Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot was also recalled for the first time in over two years, after he refused to go on the standby list for the 2018 World Cup.

"He's found a very good level again. We can't go back, I'm not someone who likes to take radical decisions. He remained selectable," said Deschamps.

Blaise Matuidi, 33, was overlooked following his recent move to David Beckham's Inter Miami in Major League Soccer as Deschamps decided to give a chance to some younger players in midfield.

Kylian Mbappe was one of two Paris Saint-Germain players included alongside defender Presnel Kimpembe, both starters in last weekend's Champions League final defeat by Bayern Munich in Lisbon.

France will travel to Sweden for their opening Nations League game on Sept 5 before returning home to play Croatia three days later. Their last international was the 2-0 victory over Albania last November.

The new English Premier League season kicks off on Sept 12, but United's opener will be a week later due to their Europa League exertions. - AFP, REUTERS

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