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Last Updated: Friday, 2 July, 2004, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
Blanc approached by FFF
Laurent Blanc
Blanc is a France legend but has no coaching experience
Laurent Blanc has edged ahead of Jean Tigana in the two-man race to take over as the new France coach.

"I have been approached by (French Football Federation chairman) Claude Simonet and (French league) chief Frederic Thiriez," said Blanc.

"They asked me if I was interested in the job. My answer was immediate and it was yes."

The position became available after Jacques Santini left to take over as the new Tottenham coach.

It remains to be seen whether ex-Fulham boss Tigana will also be officially approached, or whether the job is effectively Blanc's.

Tigana has the backing of Michel Platini, his former team-mate and now vice-president of the French Football Federation (FFF).

But FFF president Claude Simonet is believed to favour Blanc, the former Manchester United defender.

"He could be a good coach. I tell myself that such a candidacy shouldn't be rejected," said Simonet.

Tigana starred in France's 1984 European Championship-winning side, and has the advantage of management experience at Monaco and Fulham.

Blanc, a mainstay of the 1998 World Cup triumph and the Euro 2000-winning team, has no coaching track record.

But Platini coached the national team as his first management role before moving into an administration role.

Jean Tigana
Tigana has managed Monaco and Fulham

And the FFF has also noticed the success of Didier Deschamps, a former team-mate of Blanc's who took Monaco to the Champions League final in his first coaching job.

Simonet said: "What Michel Platini could do, it seems to me that Laurent Blanc, whose qualities are equally enormous, could maybe also try.

"We can't discard a dossier like his when you see the success that Didier Deschamps has had with Monaco."

The third man who has been linked with the France job is former Senegal coach Bruno Metsu, currently in charge of the United Arab Emirates.

But he is not thought to be in with a chance.

The first task for whoever lands the job is likely to be a radical overhaul of the France team.

Marcel Desailly will step down from international football and he could be joined by Zinedine Zidane, Bixente Lizarazu and Claude Makelele.

That would mark the break up of France's most successful ever squad.

Links to more France stories



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