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Sep, 30, 2010

Laurent Blanc: Benzema is 'not used to working'

France coach Laurent Blanc has admitted that Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema finds it difficult to focus his mind when there are other influences around him.

Blanc took over from previous coach Raymond Domenech after France's turbulent and dismal World Cup campaign and, as Benzema was not taken to South Africa with the squad, the new coach claims that he may have seen why.

"He's not used to working," Blanc told the Associated Press. "When you're face to face with the person, he listens. But even attentive, receptive players, when they go out in the street they meet people who tell them: 'You're the best, you play for Real Madrid, you don't need to work'. These are false friends."

Blanc has built his new side around Benzema, who netted the opening goal in France's crucial 2-0 win at Bosnia-Herzegovina in a Euro 2012 qualifier earlier this month, but the coach also spoke about Yoann Gourcuff, long tipped as the natural successor to the legendary Zinedine Zidane.

"He's an introverted boy, help him," said Blanc, who was his manager at Bordeaux last season. "Let him play. Let him mature, quite simply. Remember that at his age, Zinedine was the little guy who turned up with his back-pack to the France squad."

With that in mind, Blanc claims that Gourcuff will not be burdened with the responsibility of the captaincy.

"For the time being, no," he added. ''He's at a phase where he's still establishing himself and it's not the easiest phase. Giving him extra responsibilities would not help him."

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