Paris: The long-term loss of exciting Lyon attacker Nabil Fekir to a serious knee injury is a "body blow" to Euro 2016 hosts France, coach Didier Deschamps admitted on Sunday.
"It casts a shadow over the atmosphere, it`s a body blow. That said, I am convinced it will allow the players to realise how lucky they are to be physically fully able," said Deschamps at a press conference in Bordeaux, where Les Bleus entertain Serbia in a friendly on Monday.
Fekir, 22, lasted just 13 minutes of his first international start in Friday`s 1-0 friendly victory against Portugal in Lisbon before succumbing to what was later confirmed as a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
The Lyon star, who made his full international debut against Brazil in March and has won five caps, will be out for around six months and already faces a race against time to recover form and fitness before the European Championship.
"It is a blow for him and his club, and for us too because I had been calling him up since March," added Deschamps.
"The reasons that led me to call him up were because he has a different profile. He has that ability to be so clinical in attacking areas. I have players with other qualities, but to be clear, it is a real blow."
Meanwhile, Deschamps hinted that he could hand new Manchester United signing Anthony Martial a first international start against Serbia.
The 19-year-old, who joined United from Monaco last week for a reported initial fee of £36 million ($55.1m, 49m euros), which it is thought could rise to a remarkable £58 million, won his first cap against Portugal when he came off the bench in the 74th minute to replace Karim Benzema.
"There are stages you need to go through but the circumstances could make me do it sooner. But I am still thinking about it because starting a match for France is a big deal, with the emotional aspect that goes with it," said the coach.
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