Papy Mendy

Mendy’s Maiden Senegal Call Headlines International Break

Leicester City midfielder Papy Mendy could make the first senior international appearance of his career this month after being selected by Senegal for their two Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

- Up to 14 Leicester City players could be in action across the final international break of 2020/21
- Midfielder Papy Mendy could make his international debut after receiving a first call-up to the Senegal squad
- Centre-back Jonny Evans is closing in on his 90th appearance for Northern Ireland
- A number of Foxes may be in World Cup, Africa Cup of Nations and U21 European Championships qualification action

Mendy could make his senior bow for Senegal on Friday, when Aliou Cissé’s side face Congo at Stade Alphonse Massamba-Debat in Brazzaville, before hosting Eswatini at Stade Lat Dior in Thiès four days later.

Senegal, who have won the Africa Cup of Nations on two occasions, most recently in 2019, have already qualified from Group I with four wins from four outings, and will contest the finals of the competition next year in Cameroon.

Belgium stars Youri Tielemans, Timothy Castagne and Dennis Praet, who all featured in City’s 3-1 Emirates FA Cup Quarter-Final victory over Manchester United, will each look to add to their international caps tally over the next few days.

They first face Danny Ward’s Wales on Wednesday at King Power at Den Dreef Stadium – the home of OH Leuven – as part of their first 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier, before taking on Czech Republic at Spartan Stadium in Prague on Saturday.

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Youri Tielemans
Youri Tielemans

Youri Tielemans celebrates one of his four goals for Belgium.

Then, Roberto Martínez’s side head back to Leuven to host Belarus on Tuesday in a bid to begin their Group E campaign on a positive note, with the support of the Foxes trio.

After Wales’ encounter with Belgium, Ward’s nation then face Mexico in an international friendly on Saturday in Cardiff, while the shot-stopper could again be in action on the same soil in World Cup qualification in Tuesday’s clash with Czech Republic.

In the same competition, Çağlar Söyüncü will look to add to his 30 Turkey caps when the İzmir-born defender’s nation take on Netherlands at Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul on Wednesday night.

Three days later, the Crescent-Stars continue their Group G qualification journey with a trip to Málaga’s La Rosaleda Stadium, where they will come up against Norway, before returning to Turkey to host Latvia on Tuesday.

Also in World Cup qualification action could be Kasper Schmeichel – capped 60 times for the Red and White – as the stopper links up with his Denmark team-mates for a trio of Group F matches in as many different countries.

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Kasper Schmeichel
Kasper Schmeichel

Kasper Schmeichel has made 60 appearances for Denmark's senior side.

First, the Danes take on Israel at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv on Thursday, and then host Moldova at MCH Arena in Herning three days later before rounding off their March outings with a trip to Vienna to face Austria at Ernst-Happel-Stadion.

A man that has performed excellently in front of Schmeichel throughout the 2020/21 campaign is centre-back Jonny Evans, who has again been selected by Northern Ireland ahead of three games in the space of seven days.

First up, on Thursday, the City defender – on 89 caps for the Green and White Army – could come up against Italy at Ennio Tardini Stadium in Parma, while a friendly encounter with the USA on Sunday at Windsor Park is sandwiched in between a Group C showdown with Bulgaria at the same venue on Wednesday.

In that USA squad is young Leicester City goalkeeper Chituru Odunze, who has earned another call-up to the senior side for two upcoming international friendlies that will take place in Europe.

First up is a match against Jamaica at Stadion Wiener Neustadt in Austria on Thursday, and then a clash with Evans’ side – their first encounter with Northern Ireland in over 70 years –  follows in Belfast as Odunze aims to make his senior bow for Gregg Berhalter’s side.

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Chituru Odunze
Chituru Odunze

Chituru Odunze has previously represented the USA at Under-17s and Under-20s level.

A man who will be hoping to carry his red-hot form for City onto the international stage is striker Kelechi Iheanacho, who after scoring seven goals in his last four appearances across all competitions has been called up by Nigeria, alongside midfielder Wilfred Ndidi.

The Super Eagles are set to continue their Africa Cup of Nations campaign with fixtures against Benin Republic at Charles de Gaulle Stadium in Porto-Novo on Saturday and Lesotho in Nigeria on Tuesday in the hope of adding to their eight Group L points. 

Another Fox who has delivered some fine performances this campaign is centre-back Wesley Fofana, who will join up with France Under-21s for their opening 2021 UEFA U21 European Championships Group C fixtures.

Fofana, capped twice at that level for his nation, could face Denmark, Russia and Iceland in the space of a week, with all three matches taking place in Hungary at Gyirmóti Stadion in Győr or Haladás Stadion in Szombathely.

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Wilfred Ndidi
Wilfred Ndidi

Wilfred Ndidi will join City team-mate Kelechi Iheanacho in reporting for Nigeria this international break.

Contesting a match at the same youth level, albeit in a friendly fixture, could be Development Squad defender Shane Flynn, who signed a new deal with Leicester City earlier this month having spent time with the Club’s first team squad in recent weeks.

Flynn’s Republic of Ireland Under-21s take on Wales at Colliers Park in Wrexham on Friday as they continue preparations for their 2023 UEFA U21 European Championships qualification campaign, which starts this summer having been drawn in Group F against Italy, Sweden, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro and Luxembourg.

Development Squad goalkeeper Jakub Stolarczyk, meanwhile, has been included in Poland’s Under-21s squad for their friendly encounters with Saudi Arabia and Austria, which take place on Friday and Monday respectively.

Both matches will take place in Spain, and you can follow Stolarczyk’s international progression, as well as the rest of the Football Club’s representatives, on LCFC.com in the coming days.

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