France squad for September qualifiers

PARIS - France will welcome back striker Thierry Henry but have left out midfielder Patrick Vieira for next month's 2010 World Cup qualifiers against Romania and Serbia.

Coach Raymond Domenech recalled Arsenal defender Gael Clichy, who won his second and last cap in a friendly against Tunisia in October last year.

Clichy's Arsenal team mate Abou Diaby was included in the 23-man squad for the first time since March 2007 at the expense of Moussa Sissoko.

"Pat (Vieira) needs playing time and we all hope he will come back to his best level," Domenech told a news conference on Thursday.

Team captain Vieira, 33, who has been suffering from recurrent injuries and lack of form, started the first game of the Serie A season with Inter Milan last weekend but was substituted at halftime by Jose Mourinho.

He won the last of his 107 caps for France in a friendly against Nigeria in August but his last appearance in an official game goes back to September 2007 in a Euro qualifier against Scotland.

Franck Ribery, who has just returned to training with Bayern Munich after being sidelined for more than two weeks because of a knee injury, was included in the squad.

"They are playing in different positions and they are different people. Some players need a lot of playing time but it suits me if some other players don't overplay," the France coach said.

"In the case of Ribery, I'm more worried about stopping him from playing too much and too early," he added.

Domenech said he did n0t have any worries about the fitness of Henry, who missed France's 1-0 victory over Faroe Islands on Aug.12 through pain in his two Achilles tendons.

"His problems are fading away. He is feeling better and that's reassuring," he said.

Former World and European champions France are second in Group Seven on 13 points, five adrift of Serbia who have played one more game. Romania are fifth on seven points.

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

Defenders: Eric Abidal (Barcelona), Gael Clichy (Arsenal), Julien Escude (Sevilla), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Rod Fanni (Stade Rennes), William Gallas (Arsenal), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Sebastien Squillaci (Sevilla).

Midfielders: Alou Diarra (Girondins Bordeaux), Lassana Diarra (Real Madrid), Abou Diaby (Arsenal), Yoann Gourcuff (Girondins Bordeaux), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Jeremy Toulalan (Olympique Lyon).

Forwards: Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Toulouse), Thierry Henry (Barcelona), Loic Remy (Nice), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich).