English clubs stifle young French talent, says Blanc

Laurent Blanc, the coach of France and a former Manchester United player, believes that promising teenagers should think twice before joining a big club in the Premier League, as it may just lead to years on the bench.



French football's renowned youth system has seen a factory-line of players leaving the country at young ages to join big teams, considerably weakening the domestic league because clubs often lose their brightest prospects for little money.

Rather than gaining a few years' experience at home, many young starlets are offered lucrative deals abroad, often in the Premier League, where some have drifted into obscurity or never truly lived up to their potential.

It is a situation that concerns Blanc, who fears that players such as Chelsea's Gaël Kakuta – who at 19 is rated France's brightest prospect – are prevented from playing first-team football in England. "At that age the most important thing is to improve, to play and to learn, rather than getting an attractive transfer to a club in the big four or the big five [of the Premier League]," Blanc said, speaking yesterday ahead of his side's friendly against England at Wembley tomorrow. "They'll train once or twice a week with the first team but will never play in the first team. What's the point of that?

"It halts progress. You need a career plan, what do you aspire to at 16 or 17 when you are in a French club? To play in the first team at Le Havre or to get a big transfer and not play? The player has to think about this with his entourage to make the right choice. If you think about the ideal progression, it's not the right choice. [But] we're not in control of the lad or his entourage."

Regardless of his fears for the future, Blanc has led a mini-revival of the French national team after their catastrophic World Cup. Since taking over from Raymond Domenech in July, Blanc has made sweeping changes, and the rebuilding process has started promisingly, with France top of their Euro 2012 qualifying group with three wins in a row after losing the opening match at home to Belarus.

Yet the events in South Africa are still raw, and everyone is aware there is still much work to do. Blanc spoke yesterday of trying to instill a "hard centre" to his team, while Chelsea winger Florent Malouda said France are still "really far" from being a top side.

Moving on from the World Cup is proving harder for Blanc than he first imagined when he replaced Domenech. He bemoaned the lack of great players at his disposal, unlike in his heyday as a player when France won the World Cup and the European Championship with the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Marcel Desailly and Patrick Vieira. "For the moment we don't have any great players in our national team. What's for certain is that we haven't got there yet, we're not ready," he said. "We have a few players who are playing in big clubs, who are maybe in the process of becoming great players. We have to be patient, we have to help them to blossom."

One player who has demonstrated improved form this year has been Samir Nasri, whose influence in the Arsenal team is growing. Nasri is one of the new players Blanc has introduced to the squad who does not carry the scars from the summer debacle, but yesterday he spoke of how it underlines their current project.

"I wasn't there but I am aware of the nightmare it was for the players, the fans and the whole country. It is still etched on the memories of all those who took part. Now we are all dedicating ourselves to the future," Nasri said.

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Life and Style
food + drink
Voices
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959
voicesWard committed no crime, and the truth is still being covered up, writes Geoffrey Robertson QC
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
news... you won't believe how bad their skills were
News
people

Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright and Mark Wright
tvStrictly goes head-to-head with Apprentice
Sport
footballPremier League preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's clashes
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas