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Laurent Blanc quits as France head coach
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Euro 2012 : le difficile choix de Laurent Blanc
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BLANC NAMES SQUAD
Laurent Blanc has named his provisional French squad for his first major tournament as France’s head coach. He has included the uncapped defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and out of form midfielders, Yoann Gourcuff and Alou Diarra in his provisional 26 man party.
Yanga-Mbiwa has jumped to prominence with his impressive performances is helping Montpellier to the French League title this season. He joins the French side at the expense of Mamadou Sakho, who has lost his place at PSG due to poor form under their new manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Blanc was highly complementary of Yanga Mbiwa “He’s a very good defender, very tough in his man marking. He makes a few mistakes of youth but he’s got a great potential. He’s had a great season with his club,” was his summary of the youngster.
France will face off against the likes of Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic and England’s Theo Walcott in Group D of Euro 2012.
Diarra and Gourcuff have had relatively poor seasons with Marseilles and Lyon respectively, but Blanc has decided to stick with them in spite of their poor form. Diarra has pipped Rio Mavuba whilst Gourcuff has benefited from injury to Abou Diaby and the absence of Lassana Diara.
Gourcuff has only scored two goals and provided three assists with Lyon this season but Blanc is prepared to gamble on him based on his international record. “His club record can’t be defended, when playing with his club, he didn’t play well. But with the France team, his record is not that bad.” His season has been effected greatly by an ongoing ankle injury, but Blanc is hopeful that the midfielder can stay fit and find some form in Poland and Ukraine.
France will be missing Younus Kaboul, Eric Abidal and Bacary Sagna for the tournament, and Loic Remy is touch and go as to whether he will make it too. France face a tough ask in their group, playing England, Ukraine and Sweden and if they are to get through and mount a challenge for the title Blanc’s gambles will have to pay off, and fast.
CABAYE WILL PROVE BLANC WRONG
French and Newcastle United midfielder Yohan Cabaye has said that he expects to prove manager Laurent Blanc that he is wrong when it comes to his thoughts that the French midfield lacks the experience that it once used to have in abundance. Over the years, France has had the likes of Claude Makelele and Patrick Vieira in the centre of midfield to provide them with abundance of experience. However, Laurent Blanc will have limited disposal at his hands when it comes to the number of experienced campaigners at the Euro 2012. Laurent Blanc has said during his squad selection that he has included Chelsea midfielder Florent Malouda due to his experience, despite the fact that the former Lyon midfielder has played very little football with his club side this season.
Yohan Cabaye, who has made 10 appearances for the French national team, has said that the midfielder personal are extremely keen on improving Laurent Blanc that he is wrong in his assumptions. France certainly come into the tournament not as the favourites, but have the ability to win the tournament according to him. He has been in sensational form for his club team this season and will be hoping to translate the same into international football as well.
“We, the midfielders, we work hard, we gain experience after every game we play with the national team. That’s the only way to get this experience – playing the games and the competitions. There is no way you can say you have experience if you are not on the pitch,” Cabaye said. France will be coming into the tournament having been undefeated in 18 consecutive matches. Their biggest test in the group stages will be coming in the form of England, while Patrice Evra believes that co-host Ukraine should also not be taken lightly.
BLANC CAN’T RULE CHLSEA OUT
France national team manager Laurent Blanc has said that he will not rule out a possible move to Chelsea in the summer after the completion of the Euro 2012. Laurent Blanc is out of contract following the end of the European Championships. Chelsea recently sacked their manager Andre Villas-Boas after a string of poor results. Chelsea appointed assistant manager Roberto di Matteo incharge of the team till the end of the season. Many expected Roberto di Matteo to struggle at Stamford Bridge, but he has been simply inspirational. He has guided the team to the finals of the FA cup and the Champions League.
However, Chelsea are still being linked with a move to Laurent Blanc following the completion of the Euro 2012. To further add to the speculation, the former Bordeaux manager also refused to rule out a possible move in the summer. Blanc has always said that managing a club team is the ambition for him. He has been largely responsible for the turnaround in the French national team, which struggled a lot at the Euro 2008 and 2010 FIFA World Cup. France qualified for the Euro 2012 in impressive fashion, while Blanc also turned the fortunes of Bordeaux as a club.
“It’s always gratifying when big clubs are interested in you. I can sign elsewhere, before or during the Euros. I often hear it said that it’s the boss who decides whether or not to extend the contract of a player or a coach who’s at the end of their contract, but people forget that the employee can also decide for themselves. My intention is to carry on with the France team, I haven’t changed my mind, but the fact remains I haven’t extended my contract,” Laurent Blanc said when asked about rumours linking him with Chelsea.
BLANC WANTS LONG-TERM ROLE
Laurent Blanc, the coach of the France National Football Team has asserted his wish to stay on as the coach of the team even after the European Championships of 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.
The former Inter Milan and Manchester United defender has reiterated his desire to lead the team to the FIFA World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2014 and wants to win the tournament as the coach of The Blues, having been a part of the World Cup winning side of 1998 on home soil.
However, the detriment to his wishes could be the contractual agreement between the French Football Federation and Blanc which expires after the end of the European Championships.
However, according to sources inside the French Football Federation, the Chairman is not at all keen to extend the contract of Blanc after it expires and has already lined up several possible replacements for the France National Football Team coaching position including big names such as Arsene Wenger.
Blanc took charge of the national team in the after math of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and inherited a divided locker room from former coach Raymond Domenech but he managed to turn things around on the field and is currently the 4th most successful coach in the history of the national team, according to the win percentages.
However, Blanc has had his share of controversy with the team and it is for these reasons that the Federation does not want to hold on to him after his contract expires.
However, even if his contract with the France National Football Team is not renewed, Laurent Blanc might not have to look hard for a job as he is already being considered to take over the reins of his former side Inter Milan in the summer.