Blanc: France must overhaul youth policies

MADRID, Sept 21 (Reuters) - France, who suffered a humiliating exit from the World Cup, must overhaul their selection policies for developing young talent, new coach Laurent Blanc said on Tuesday.

Blanc told reporters at a UEFA conference in Madrid that the once mighty French side must put more emphasis on technical ability rather than physical power if they were to restore their status.

He said Spanish World Cup winners like Xavi and Andres Iniesta, two of the most gifted creative midfielders in the world game, might not have been successful in French football because of their slender physique.

"Selection criteria at one time (in France) were for big players whereas in Spain it's the football that counts, the technical qualities," Blanc said.

"The criteria are not good enough in France - we need other ones," he added.

"Players like Xavi and Iniesta, in France they would have a hard time getting through."

Blanc took over from Raymond Domenech after Les Bleus were knocked out of the World Cup and he has the task of rebuilding confidence and restoring pride in a squad still reeling from an ugly spat between players and management at the tournament in South Africa.

France's Euro 2012 qualifying campaign got off to a poor start with a surprise 1-0 home defeat to Belarus but they recovered to beat Bosnia 2-0 in Sarajevo in their second match.

Blanc, who played for clubs including Barcelona, Olympique Marseille, Inter Milan and Manchester United, said national team coaches should follow Spain's example if they wanted to be successful, with the focus on technique more than strength.

"Spanish football is profiting from the healthy state of its clubs (like Barcelona)," he added. "It's a good example to follow for all football nations."