Speaking at his press conference after the squad announcement, Deschamps said: “I was led, at the very last minute, to make a change in the list. Paul Pobga was in this list. Unfortunately for him, he took a test yesterday, which turned out positive. So at the last moment, I had to replace him with Eduardo Camavinga”.
It means Pogba will have to spend 14 days in isolation – meaning he will miss the start of Man Utd’s pre-season preparations, which begin next week following their extended 2019-20 season as they reached the Europa League semi-finals.
However, he should be able to play in United’s first game of the 2020-21 Premier League season, against Crystal Palace on September 19. The Red Devils start their domestic season a week later than most of their rivals to allow them additional rest due to their exploits in Europe.
He is said to be asymptomatic, however the positive test means Deschamps has no option but to leave out one of his key players for the first set of men’s international fixtures played in Europe this calendar year.
A statement from United read: “Pogba has been replaced in the squad after testing positive for COVID-19. The midfielder will be unable to add to his 69 caps and 10 goals for his country in the games next month. Everybody at United wishes Paul a speedy recovery ahead of the new season.”
On a footballing level, the absence of Pogba and Dembele provides opportunities for teenage talent Camavinga – linked with a move to Real Madrid this summer – and Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar, who have been called up to the France senior squad for the first time.
France travel to Sweden for their first UEFA Nations League encounter on Friday, September 5, before hosting Croatia in a repeat of the 2018 World Cup final on September 8. They are competing in Group C, along with Portugal.