Lyon underperforming midfielder Yoann Gourcuff has been included in Laurent Blanc’s preliminary 26-man squad for the European Championship.
The former Bordeaux playmaker has been picked in spite of some under-par performances for les Gones this season.
“He has been satisfactory for the French team,” said Blanc. “We’ll see if we can get him back on track during our training camp.”
Another surprise is the inclusion of Montpellier captain Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, who made the squad after Younes Kaboul had been ruled out through injury.
“We have been monitoring him (Yanga-Mbiwa) for a long time and he might have been called up earlier,” said Blanc. “We needed someone to make up for the loss of Younès.”
The France boss revealed that Marseille striker Loic Remy was highly unlikely to make the final squad after picking up a thigh injury at the weekend.
Les Bleus have arranged three friendly games before the start of the Euro 2012, with matches against Iceland, Serbia and Estonia set to help them in their preparations for the final tournament.
Following a strong Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, France are seen as one of the candidates for the trophy, with les Blues 13.00 (12/1) at 188BET to lift the coveted title.
Provisional France squad
Goalkeepers: Cédric Carrasso (FC Girondins de Bordeaux), Hugo Lloris (Olympique Lyonnais), Steve Mandanda (Olympique de Marseille).
Defenders: Mathieu Debuchy (LOSC Lille Métropole), Anthony Réveillère (Olympique Lyonnais), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (Montpellier Hérault SC), Gaël Clichy (Manchester City FC), Patrice Evra (Manchester United FC), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal FC), Adil Rami (Valencia CF), Philippe Mexès (AC Milan).
Midfielders: Alou Diarra (Olympique de Marseille), Yoann Gourcuff (Olympique Lyonnais), Yann M’Vila (Stade Rennais FC), Marvin Martin (FC Sochaux-Montbéliard), Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain FC), Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle United FC), Florent Malouda (Chelsea FC), Samir Nasri (Manchester City FC).
Forwards: Olivier Giroud (Montpellier Hérault SC), Jérémy Menez (Paris Saint-Germain FC), Mathieu Valbuena (Olympique de Marseille), Loïc Rémy (Olympique de Marseille), Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle United FC), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid CF), Franck Ribéry (FC Bayern München).