Laurent Blanc handed the chance to end France’s inertia
The suspension of France’s disgraced World Cup squad will ensure Laurent Blanc bloods new talent in their upcoming friendly against Norway.
The former Bourdeaux manager faces a mammoth task as he attempts to rebuild the pride of the French nation and construct a squad worthy of the former great Les Blues sides.
Patrice Evra and fellow outcast Nicolas Anelka have borne the brunt of criticism in France since their contentious strike in South Africa. Meanwhile Franck Ribery faces a jail sentence over alleged misdemeanours with an under-age girl.
Blanc, however, can now begin to rejuvenate an ageing squad. Presumably once the controversy is pacified, talents such as goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, left-back Gael Clichy and playmaker Yoann Gourcuff will return to contention.
In the meantime there is an opportunity to delve into the French production line and grant international caps to some exciting and largely untested prospects.
Blanc is expected to turn to young talent within Ligue 1 to fill his squad for the match against Norway.
One such prospect is the much sought-after LoÃƒÂ¯c Remy. The Nice striker has attracted the attentions of multiple English clubs in recent weeks, most notably Arsenal, Liverpool and West Ham.
The 23-year-old, who has inevitably been compared to Thierry Henry thanks to his brisk pace and elegant finishing, has scored 25 goals in 66 league appearances.
At over six foot the forward, who is of Martiniquais descent, is blessed with the raw materials to succeed. Remy has played for France’s U-21s nine times with a respectable return of three goals and last June he earned his first senior cap making a substitute appearance against Nigeria in a friendly.
Another name almost certainly on Blanc’s shortlist is Bordeaux left-back, Benoit Tremoulinas.
The attacking full-back, who featured regularly during Blanc’s reign at Bordeaux, has flourished in recent seasons, coming to prominence through his creative drives from defence. Tremoulinas, 24, is amongst the top creators of goals in the French league while his defensive attributes are more than adequate.
Thus far he has failed to break into the national team, hampered by the presence of captain Patrice Evra. But with Real Madrid, AC Milan and Tottenham Hotspur rumoured to be interested in acquiring Tremoulinas’ services, a call-up from his former boss seems inevitable.
New Olympique Lyonnais signing Jimmy Briand is another option for Blanc. The 24-year-old gained an impressive reputation at Rennes with his club form earning the striker a call-up to the French senior squad in 2008.
However a serious knee injury sustained during a training session with France prevented his progress and led to six months of treatment before he could return to regular football.
Last season Briand scored five goals in 23 appearances. Lyons paid Rennes €6 million to acquire his services and Blanc is expected to select the striker for next month’s friendly.
Other names which have been touted as possible recruits include Olympique Lyonnais’ Aly Cissokho who will provide competition for Tremoulinas at left-back.
Real Madrid’s Karim Benzeama could receive a call-up though his off-field indiscretions may inhibit his participation. Arsenal’s Samir Nasri is an exciting creative alternative, equally adept on the wing or behind the forward men.
Whoever Blanc selects it will give French supporters and followers of international football an intriguing insight into the future of France’s national side.