- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

PARIS (AP) - Marseille striker Andre-Pierre Gignac has been rewarded for his early-season form with a call-up to France’s national team for matches against Portugal and Armenia.

Gignac has scored eight goals in as many games to help Marseille to the top of the French league with six straight wins. Gignac, who was not part of France’s World Cup squad, has scored five in his past three matches.

“He interests me,” France coach Didier Deschamps said Thursday. “It’s a question of having competition for places.”

Gignac’s fitness has vastly improved this season under coach Marcelo Bielsa, and Gignac is benefitting.

“He’s always scored goals, but the difference today is that he’s very efficient and he’s physically fit enough to keep going and going,” Deschamps said. “He brings that something extra.”

Gignac has scored four goals in 17 appearances for France, and last played for the national team in a 0-0 draw against Georgia last September.

Deschamps also recalled winger Dimitri Payet, Gignac’s teammate, and Lyon right back Christophe Jallet.

“Payet has a lot of quality,” Deschamps said. “He’s very versatile but at the moment he’s very influential and decisive playing through the middle.”

France hosts Portugal on Oct. 11 and plays in Armenia three days later.

All are part of Group I in qualifying for the 2016 European Championship. But since France is already qualified as host, its matches don’t count for points for either team.



Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Stephane Ruffier (Saint-Etienne)

Defenders: Lucas Digne (Paris Saint-Germain), Patrice Evra (Juventus), Christophe Jallet (Lyon), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Eliaquim Mangala (Manchester City), Jeremy Mathieu (Barcelona), Bacary Sagna (Manchester City), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)

Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Paris Saint-Germain), Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle)

Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Remy Cabella (Newcastle), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Marseille), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Dimitri Payet (Marseille), Loic Remy (Chelsea), Mathieu Valbuena (Dynamo Moscow)



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