West Ham United U23s midfielder Pierre Ekwah could be in line to make his first appearance for France in over three years on Thursday evening.
The box-to-box midfielder, selected for this month’s back-to-back friendlies against Tunisia by France U20s coach Bernard Diomède, has not appeared for his national youth team since an U16s fixture against Switzerland in May 2018.
Ekwah’s strong form at Club level since joining West Ham United in June, however, has seen him fight his way back into contention for national selection.
The 19-year-old is spending the international break training alongside young French talents who have already appeared in Ligue 1 including Tanguy Kouassi (Bayern Munich), Timothée Pembélé (Bordeaux) and Kays Ruiz-Atil (Paris Saint-Germain).
Under the guidance of 1998 FIFA World Cup winner Diomède, France U20s face two friendlies against Tunisia U20s, who finished fourth at last winter’s U20 Africa Cup of Nations, as part of Festival International Hopes.
The first of those friendlies will take place at Stade Paresmain – a 17,000-capacity stadium in Fos-sur-Mer, southern France – on Thursday 7 October, kicking off at 8pm local time (7pm BST).
The second, between the same teams, will take place on Sunday 10 October at Stade d’Honneur in Mallemort, close to the popular tourist destinations Avignon and Marseille.
When you get selected, you know you’re doing something right!
And Ekwah – who previously captained and scored for France U16s on his debut against Russia four years ago – cannot wait for the opportunity to represent Les Bleus once more at junior level.
“When you get selected, you know you’re doing something right!” Ekwah laughed, speaking to whufc.com.
“I haven’t been with France for quite a long time. I haven’t been there since I was with the U16s, so now I’m making my comeback, which is really good. I really appreciate that.
“I just need to keep going after this news. It’s a little something that’ll make me keep working even harder. I think it’ll be a good experience, after all this time.
“I’m coming back there and hopefully I’ll show what I’m about. It’s really good to go back there because of my hard work here at West Ham, so I’ll really enjoy it.”
Ekwah has relished the opportunity to feature regularly for the West Ham development squad since signing for the Hammers in June, having made seven appearances so far this season.
“I literally love it here,” he beamed. “It’s a family Club which I like, I was looking for that, so I literally love it.
“The coaches are great, everybody’s welcomed me with open arms, so I’m feeling great in the team and the Club which is brilliant. For me, it’s perfect.”