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February 20 2019 4.08am

Sakho overjoyed at winning France recall

October 11 2018

Mamadou Sakho

Mamadou Sakho

Crystal Palace defender Mamadou Sakho has spoken of his joy at being called up to the France squad.

Sakho is making his first appearance for Les Bleus since becoming a full-time Palace player in September 2017.

The centre half made his international bow against England in November 2010, while at League One side Paris Saint-Germain.

He has since gone on to win 28 caps while with his hometown club, and while playing for Liverpool, and is thrilled to finally get a fresh recall.

"I'm proud. It's always nice to meet the teammates, to find the blue jersey," said the 28-year-old. "This jersey is the grail. After that I'm someone who, when he focuses on something, wants the maximum of course.

"In football, the highest peak for a French player is to wear this blue jersey. To defend the colours of his nation is extraordinary. It's always fun and we are always motivated to do this."

Sakho missed out on the summer's World Cup after being named in the preliminary squad but insists he is not bitter.

"No sincerely, it's not my mentality to think like that," he said. "When we have good news or less good, it is simply to move forward, to turn the page, to savour. I have always remained myself working very hard."

International football today is as competitive as ever, so Sakho's France will find Iceland tough opponents when they meet in a friendly on Thursday night. They then host a UEFA Nations League match with Germany on Tuesday.

Palace manager Roy Hodgson feels Sakho's performances warrants his place in Didier Deschamps' squad.

"He's very, very proud about playing for his country and takes it very, very seriously," said Hodgson.

"I see it as an honour for him, I see it as a recognition of the quality of the football he has played since the start of the season and I also see it as a feather in the cap for Crystal Palace Football Club.

"We as a team are playing well enough to get him recognised as a potential for the world champions."

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