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Sep 22, 2010

Wenger: Blanc 'brave' to take on France job

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Laurent Blanc has been "brave'' to take on the task of coaching France so early in his career.

Blanc, 44, took over from Raymond Domenech following Les Bleus' disappointing World Cup campaign which saw the squad go on strike after Nicolas Anelka was sent home from South Africa following an altercation with Domenech.

They exited at the first-round stage after scoring just one goal and securing a solitary point.

Since the tournament, the former Bordeaux coach has had to deal with the fall-out from that episode with Jeremy Toulalan, Patrice Evra and Franck Ribery receiving bans of various lengths. Striker Anelka was handed an 18-match ban which effectively ended his international career.

"It is brave of him to have rushed into this adventure," Wenger told L'Equipe. "He knows what's going on inside.

"His philosophy of play is positive. He is surrounded with people like (assistant coach) Jean-Louis Gasset, for example.''

France have made a slow start to life under Blanc, losing a friendly against Norway and suffering a 1-0 defeat in their opening Euro 2012 qualifier against Belarus in Paris, although they bounced back with a 2-0 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Wenger reckons the biggest hurdle Blanc will have to overcome is restoring the confidence of the French players and public.

"His real handicap is the deteriorated level of confidence in French football,'' he said.

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