Barca's Dembele back in France squad for World Cup qualifiers

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FILE PHOTO: La Liga Santander - Sevilla v FC Barcelona

PARIS (Reuters) - France have recalled Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele to their squad for the first time in over two years as Les Bleus gear up for World Cup qualifiers against Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Bosnia.

Dembele, who has three goals in 21 La Liga appearances for Barca this season, won the last of his 21 caps in a 2-0 defeat against the Netherlands in the Nations Cup in November 2018.

"He is still a young player. He has not been spared by injuries," coach Didier Deschamps told a news conference after naming the 23-year-old in a 26-man squad.

"He now needs to mature, be spared by injuries. What he's able to do today he was able to do it some time ago and that's why he was in the squad who won the World Cup.

"Since then it has been harder for him. It's a good thing that he's here. And with three back-to-back games a lot of players will be involved."

Also back in the squad after a lengthy absence are Tottenham Hotspur's Tanguy Ndombele and Atletico Madrid Thomas Lemar.

Ndombele played his last game for France in June 2019 while fellow midfielder Lemar won his last cap in November that year.

The world champions host Ukraine at the Stade de France on Wednesday before travelling to Kazakhstan on March 28 and Bosnia three days later.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris)