Blanc determined to revive French
New France coach Laurent Blanc says he is determined to revive the national side in the wake of their dismal 2010 FIFA World Cup™.
The former Bordeaux coach - a FIFA World Cup winner in 1998 and UEFA EURO 2000 champion - takes charge for the first time in Wednesday's friendly international against Norway.
Blanc took the bold step of dropping the entire French World Cup squad after they went on strike ahead of a training session during the tournament to protest the sending home of Nicolas Anelka.
Although Blanc has hinted he will recall Anelka, who was dismissed for abusing former coach Raymond Domenech in the dressing room at half-time during France's loss to Mexico, and the other miscreants for the UEFA EURO 2012 qualifiers he is laying down markers as to how he expects his men to behave.
"When you talk to the players you have to show yourself to be determined," he said. "I am not saying that you have to prove your authority to the players - even though that must exist - but you have to show determination, be frank, lay down a few ground rules; some for now, more when we get to September," when the qualifiers start.
Given the opportunity to give youth a chance to shine, Blanc has called up 13 uncapped players to face Norway as well as Karim Benzema, Samir Nasri and Philippe Mexes, who have been recalled after missing the FIFA World Cup cut.
And he has placed high hopes on the likes of Paris Saint Germain star Guillaume Hoarau and Jimmy Briand of Lyon. "They represent the future," said Blanc, noting that the newcomers had all shown signs of being ready to step up to the international plate and now had their chance to prove their worth.
Midfielder Lassana Diarra, another FIFA World Cup absentee and now one of Blanc's more experienced heads for Wednesday, agreed that the youngsters had to give the older heads the feeling that they were breathing down the latters' necks.
"I watched the World Cup as a spectator and it was strange - but I don't want to say more as I wasn't there, save to say the French team disappointed the French public," he said.
"You have to want to be together and want to please the fans. The match against Norway will allow the new players to express themselves and show they are capable of bringing something to the table. If they are in the squad it is because they have potential and they are going to grab their opportunity."