LONDON: France midfielder Boubacar Kamara has been ruled out of the World Cup in Qatar due to a knee ligament injury, Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard said on Friday.

The 22-year-old, who has three caps for the national team after making his debut in June, picked up the injury in the 1-0 Premier League win over Southampton before the international break earlier this month.

Further tests confirmed Kamara, signed from Olympique de Marseille in the summer transfer window, had sustained ligament damage which will require a lengthy spell of rehabilitation.

Kamara had been called up for the latest round of Nations League matches before his injury.

Left-back Lucas Digne was also forced to pull out of the French squad because of a heel problem, which Villa said would make him “unavailable in the coming weeks”.

“Bouba will be missing until after the World Cup unfortunately so that’s a huge blow,” Gerrard told reporters ahead of his side’s league trip to Leeds United on Sunday.

Kamara’s absence is the latest blow to defending champions France, who have also been without key midfielders N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba in the build-up to the showpiece event that kicks off on Nov 20.

France open their campaign against Australia in Group ‘D’ on Nov 22 followed by group games against Denmark and Tunisia.

Published in Dawn, October 1st, 2022

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