Blanc: Koscielny must fight for France start

The Arsenal defender is behind Philippe Mexes and Adil Rami in the pecking order but can still earn himself a starting place according to Les Bleus' head coach

France centre-back Laurent Koscielny has been told he will have to fight for a starting place by head coach Laurent Blanc ahead of Monday’s Euro 2012 clash against England.

Blanc, who has revitalised the French national side following a disastrous World Cup campaign in 2010, has declared Philippe Mexes and Adil Rami as his preferred starters.

However, the 46-year-old coach insists Koscielny can carve out a place in the team with good performances in training.

“We’ve got two big players in central defence and I hope they play very well tomorrow,” he told a pre-match press conference.

“Laurent needs to make sure these two players are worried about their place and are kept on their toes.

“Koscielny has had a very good season with Arsenal but, as you know, you need experience at centre-back and players that work together in terms of instinct."

And, despite France scraping automatic qualification to the European finals, beating Bosnia and Herzegovina by just a point to top Group D, Blanc insisted he is happy with the current setup.

“I think we did very well during the qualifying campaign with no regrets,” he said. “Luckily we have two [centre-backs] in good form.”