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Wolves defender Willy Boly wins first full international call-up

Wolves defender Willy Boly has received his first international call-up for the Ivory Coast.
The 28-year-old centre back has been included in coach Ibrahim Kamara’s 26-man squad for the forthcoming friendlies against Benin and Tunisia, both matches taking place in northern France.
Born to Ivorian parents in Melun, around 26 miles south east of 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 and it was reported that he had received an approach to represent the Ivory Coast in December. He came through the famous Clairefontaine academy before spending four years with Auxerre prior to moving to Braga in 2014.
Boly is one of five English-based players called up, 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 is one of two new additions with KV Mechelen forward Togui Mel, will get chance to meet up with AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, who Wolves tried to sign in the summer transfer window.
Known as ‘The Elephants’ Ivory Coast host their West African neighbours Benin on Friday (6pm) in Caen, with the encounter against Tunisia taking place on September 10 in Rouen.
The Benin game will be the Ivorians’ first since the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals where they lost to eventual winners Algeria. Serge Aurier – who has been injured since the Afcon – returns to the international scene.
Boly is the 11th Wolves player to be called up for international action this break – and it would have been 12, but for Ireland’s Matt Doherty withdrawing from their squad to undergo a minor knee operation.
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).
Pedro Neto and Ruben Vinagre have both received their first call-up to Portugal’s Under-21s for the Euro U21 qualifiers at home to Gibraltar on Thursday (8.45pm), and away to Belarus on Tuesday (6pm).
Leander Dendoncker is in the Belgium squad for their Euro 2020 qualifiers against San Marino on Friday, before a home tie with Scotland on Monday (both 7.45pm).
Mexico’s Raul Jimenez faces the USA 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.