Amalfitano handed first France call-up

Olympique Marseille midfielder Morgan Amalfitano has been called up by France for the first time for Wednesday's friendly with Germany while Louis Saha returns in the absence of the injured Karim Benzema.

Coach Laurent Blanc kept faith on Thursday with the majority of his mainstays for the trip to Bremen but has taken the chance to look at in-form Amalfitano, 26, and injury-prone recent Tottenham Hotspur signing Saha ahead of June's Euro 2012.

Defenders Philippe Mexes and Patrice Evra have also come back into the squad but Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny is injured.

Striker Loic Remy is on the treatment table too and misses out having been in the starting lineup for November's dull 0-0 friendly draw with Belgium.

Blanc waxed lyrical about Amalfitano in a news conference.

"His performances explain his selection. He is technically very strong, when he has the ball, he makes the right choice. He has the midfield qualities that will be useful in this match," Blanc said before turning to Mexes and Saha.

"Philippe is a lad who I count on enormously. He has a different skill-set to other defenders. Saha is someone who I like because he is a good footballer who is unfortunately often injured, causing problems at club level."

Jeremy Mathieu and Maxime Gonalons have been left out after being in the last squad but tricky winger Mathieu Valbuena has returned.

Blanc refused to name his captain but said Mexes, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and defender Eric Abidal were vying for the armband as he seeks a leader for the Euros.

France face England, Ukraine and Sweden in Ukraine and Poland in June while Germany, who included out-of-form striker Cacau in their squad, play Portugal, Netherlands and Denmark.

France squad:

Goalkeepers: Cedric Carrasso (Girondins Bordeaux), Hugo Lloris (Olympique Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Olympique Marseille).

Defenders: Eric Abidal (Barcelona), Mathieu Debuchy (Lille), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Philippe Mexes (AC Milan), Adil Rami (Valencia), Anthony Reveillere (Lyon), Mamadou Sakho (Paris Saint-Germain).

Midfielders: Morgan Amalfitano (Marseille), Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle United), Alou Diarra (Marseille), Yann M'Vila (Stade Rennes), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Marvin Martin (Sochaux), Samir Nasri (Manchester City), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille).

Forwards: Kevin Gameiro (Paris Saint-Germain), Olivier Giroud (Montpellier), Jeremy Menez (Paris Saint-Germain), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Louis Saha (Tottenham Hotspur).