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Tue 09 Oct 2018

Digne: Everton Move Key To France Recall

Lucas Digne has highlighted the importance of his move to Everton in winning a recall to the France national squad.

The 25-year-old, who signed from Barcelona in the summer, has kicked off his Blues career in impressive fashion. 

The left-back’s diligent defending, enterprising runs forward and pinpoint crossing ability has marked him out as one of Everton’s standout performers in the early part of the campaign.

Digne just missed out on a place in France’s triumphant World Cup squad – having been on the standby list for Les Bleus – but his excellent displays for the Toffees have earned him a place in Didier Deschamps’ party for their clashes against Iceland in Guingamp on Thursday and Germany at the Stade de France five days later.

The defender, who has already won 21 international caps, says his Everton teammates, the Club’s management team and fans have been key to his swift adjustment to life in England. He insists this support has helped him to produce the fine form which has caught the eye of the France boss.

“I think it [moving to Everton] is so important to my recall,” he told evertontv

“When I came here I wanted to play every week, to enjoy it and discover a new country, a new league, and then see what happens [with the national team]. But now I am so happy.

“I want to say 'thank you' to my teammates, the coach and the staff and the fans, too because they helped me a lot to get the recall. 

“We have one friendly game against Iceland and then we play Germany in the Nations League. Every game is important for the national team.

“You are representing your country and it’s important to prove you deserve your place.”

Digne’s Everton colleague Kurt Zouma has also been named in Deschamps' exceptionally talented France squad.

Alongside Digne, the towering centre-back has been a fixture in the Blues’ backline for the past five Premier League games – impressing with his pace, power and intelligent positioning.

“I’m so happy for Kurt, too, because it is so important for him,” added Digne. “I’ve known him for eight years, maybe, and he deserves it.

“I just want to say ‘congratulations’ to him for the recall because he has worked a lot for it.”

Digne produced perhaps the most accomplished performance of his Everton career to date in the Blues’ 2-1 victory at Leicester City on Saturday.

His desire to get on the ball was emphasised by the fact he had more touches than any player at the King Power Stadium (91).

Digne was not found wanting when it came to the physical battle, either. No Everton player won more tackles than him against the Foxes, while – despite measuring up at 5ft 8in – only Michael Keane came out on top in more aerial battles.

He was also instrumental in the Toffees' vibrant attacking display – making 27 accurate passes in the opposition half, another match-high.

Digne will now be aiming to replicate this impressive form on the international stage as France take on Iceland on Thursday night.

There will be a familiar face in the opposition line-up at Guingamp’s Stade du Roudourou, with the in-form Gylfi Sigurdsson an integral figure for the visitors.

The Everton playmaker will be coming into the game fresh from his sensational, match-winning strike against Leicester on Saturday.

Digne admits he and his France teammates will have to be wary of the threat posed by the red-hot Sigurdsson, who has hit five goals already this term.

“Gylfi is so good and a very important player for us at Everton,” he said. 

“His goal was amazing and it was important for the team. When he shot I said, ‘Wow!’. As soon as he hit the ball you could see it was going to be a goal.

“I spoke to him after the game and said, ‘Don’t score the same goal against France!”

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