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Wolves defender Willy Boly takes a break instead of Ivory Coast call-up

Wolves defender Willy Boly is happy to play a waiting game on his international future after opting out of a first call-up for the Ivory Coast to spend time with his family.

The 28-year-old centre back was named in coach Ibrahim Kamara’s 26-man squad for the forthcoming friendlies against Benin on Friday night in Caen and Tunisia on Tuesday evening in Rouen, both in northern France.

But it’s understood the popular centre back hasn’t actually committed himself to the country of his parents’ birth and has instead decided to spend the international break in France with his young family. Boly has played a full part in a hectic start to the season which has seen him play all 10 Wolves games so far this season, in Northern Ireland, Armenia, Italy and here, plus two matches in China since early July.

It was reported Boly had received an approach to represent the Ivory Coast in December, but he has not agreed to represent the West African nation. Born to Ivorian parents in Melun, near Paris, Boly represented France at Under-16, Under-17 and Under-19 levels, winning six caps.

But his pathway to the France senior squad has been blocked by World Cup winners Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti. He came through the famous Clairefontaine academy before spending four years with Auxerre prior to moving to Braga in 2014.

Boly was one of five English-based players called up by the Ivory Coast, with Tottenham defender Aurier Serge, and forwards Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace), Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal) and Meite Yakou (Reading). Zaha was approached to play for the Ivory Coast last year when he thought his chances of representing England were limited.

The Molineux favourite, who was one of two new additions with KV Mechelen forward Togui Mel, would have got chance to meet up with AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, who Wolves tried to sign in the summer transfer window. The Benin game is the Ivorians’ first since the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals where they lost to eventual winners Algeria.

As reported elsewhere, Molineux midfielder Leander Dendoncker is out of Belgium’s Euro 2020 qualifier against San Marino on Friday after receiving a kick in training, but is hoping to be fit to face Scotland on Monday (7.45pm).

Wolves’ Portugal quartet Rui Patricio, Joao Moutinho, Ruben Neves and Diogo Jota are hoping to face Serbia on Saturday and Lithuania on Tuesday, both Euro 2020 qualifiers (both 7.45pm).

Mexico’s Raul Jimenez faces the USA in Texas on Saturday, from 1.30am, before playing Argentina on Wednesday (1am). Both are in the States and are friendlies.

Romain Saiss is with Morocco, who play Burkina Faso on Friday and Nigeria on Tuesday. Both friendlies will take place at the Stade de Marrakech at 8pm.

Morgan Gibbs-White is with the England Under-21s who play Turkey away on Friday at 6.45pm and Kosovo at Hull on Monday, 5pm, both Euro U21 qualifiers.