Paul Pogba handed World Cup warning as Didier Deschamps outlines conditions for France recall

Didier Deschamps (right) has suggested he will not take players who are not fully fit to the World Cup

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Didier Deschamps has warned Paul Pogba that the midfielder must prove his fitness if he is to be included in France’s squad for the World Cup.

Pogba, who returned to Juventus on a free from Manchester United this summer, is yet to play this season after damaging his meniscus.

The 29-year-old faces a race to be fit ahead of the tournament in Qatar, with a return expected from knee surgery in November.

He formed a key part of Deschamps’ midfield as France secured their second World Cup crown in Russia in 2018, but the manager insists that he will not pick Pogba if not fully fit and available for his side’s opening group game against Australia on 22 November.

“[Paul Pogba] will do everything to come back quickly, without taking risks,” Deschamps explained after recalling Olivier Giroud and Ousmane Dembele to his squad for Nations League fixtures against Austria and Denmark.

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“But nobody today can say yes or no with certainty. The number one condition is that he has recovered from his injury. I have never taken a player to a tournament if he has not fully recovered.

“I don’t have the answers today but I would never take a player – whoever that might be – if there is a chance he is not fit for the first match. He will not come if he is not ready. It would be useless coming just for the sake of it. Even he doesn’t want that.”

Pogba has 91 caps for his country.

With N’Golo Kante also currently sidelined due to injury, Deschamps has named an inexperienced group of midfielders to take on Austria and Denmark, with uncapped Monaco youngster Youssouf Fofana included.

Fofana’s club teammate Benoît Badiashile could also make his first appearance for France in the two fixtures, which take place on Thursday 22 September and Sunday 25 September.

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