Aston Villa defender Jordan Amavi has been ruled out for the rest of the season after rupturing his cruciate ligament.

In a damaging blow to the struggling club, Amavi suffered the injury to his right knee playing for France’s Under 21s against Northern Ireland on Thursday.

Amavi joined Villa, who are currently bottom of the Premier League, in the close season from Ligue 1 club Nice.

The 21-year-old left-back had featured in 10 of Villa’s 12 Premier League games this season.

Coleman calls for England warm-up

Chris Coleman wants Wales to play England in a pre-Euro 2016 friendly – even if he hopes they are not paired with them in the December 12 draw.

Manager Coleman prefers to meet another top seed but says he would be happy to meet England before the tournament.

“We know we will be drawn against one of the top teams and England are one of the top teams,” Coleman said.

“It is our first major tournament for a while and we could maybe play England in a friendly somewhere down the line.

“We would love to do that because everyone wants to play England in the same way they want to play Germany or Spain.”

Lingard call-up

Manchester United forward Jesse Lingard has been called into the England squad ahead of tomorrow’s game against France.

The 22-year-old joined up with the squad yesterday to help bolster Roy Hodgson’s ranks after two players were forced out through injury.

Lingard’s Old Trafford team-mate Michael Carrick was carried off in the last minute of England’s 2-0 defeat to Spain on Friday.

Carrick has returned to his club and will not be available for England’s final game of the year.

Jamie Vardy, who sat out the game in Alicante, will also miss the match with the French.

Fans encouraged to sing French anthem

England fans attending the friendly with France tomorrow are being encouraged to sing along to the French national anthem following the terror attacks in Paris.

It was confirmed that the match would still be staged at Wembley and home fans are being asked to learn the words to La Marseillaise to sing along in an act of solidarity.

Broadcaster Mark Pougatch said on Twitter: “If you have a ticket for Wembley it’s time to learn La Marseillaise. Time to show what fraternité is about.”

French journalist Philippe Auclair posted a link to the lyrics to the anthem alongside the message: “France will play at Wembley on Tuesday. Good. To my English friends, if you wish to join us to sing La Marseillaise.”

Morata denies Juventus exit talk

Alvaro Morata told reporters yesterday that he has no intention of leaving Juventus, contradicting rumours in the Spanish media last week which said the striker was unhappy and seeking a way back to La Liga at the end of the season.

“I’m glad to have this opportunity to clarify things,” Morata told Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Every time I play, I am happy, and I didn’t say that I don’t like playing on the left, but that it’s more difficult to score from there.

“As for Real Madrid rumours, I let it all slide off me. The only thing that interests me is playing as much as possible for Juve and winning titles.”

Fomenko urges Ukraine to stay calm

Mykhaylo Fomenko wants his Ukraine side to turn their focus to tomorrow’s Euro 2016 return play-off leg with Slovenia after claiming a two-goal advantage in Lviv.

The Ukrainians ran out 2-0 winners on Saturday night as Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Seleznyov scored in either half.

Ukraine have failed to win any of their previous five play-off ties to reach a major international tournament.

“We have won the first half of our tie, and I am delighted with the clean sheet, but now we should prepare for the second,” coach Fomenko said.

“Now we need to calm down. We have time, the players can relax, and in Maribor we will decide on our line-up.”

Lambert appointed Blackburn manager

Blackburn have appointed Paul Lambert as their new manager.

Rovers, currently 16th in the Championship, sacked Gary Bowyer last week following a run of one win in six league games.

Lambert will be joined by ex-Rovers player and youth team coach Alan Irvine, who was named as his assistant.

Blackburn’s former head of youth coaching Rob Kelly and goalkeeping coach Laurence Batty will also join the Scotsman’s backroom team.

Lambert, who was sacked by Aston Villa in February, guided Norwich to back-to-back promotions from League One to the Premier League in 2011. He will be presented to the media today.

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