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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence