By Nick Ames in Donetsk

Laurent Koscielny will have to be patient in his bid to break up France’s current centre-back pairing, according to manager Laurent Blanc.

Current first choices Philippe Mexes and Adil Rami have come under fire in their homeland recently, leading to suggestions that Koscielny might earn a place in Les Bleus’ starting XI for Euro 2012.

But, speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Monday’s Group D opener with England, Blanc suggested that the Arsenal defender might have to wait a little longer to win his fourth cap.

“We’ve got two big players in central defence and I hope they play very well tomorrow,” he said.

“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.”

Not that this signals an end to Koscielny’s hopes of involvement. He is one of only three centre backs in the French squad, and Blanc stressed the need for him to continue challenging those ahead of him.

“I think we did very well during the qualifying campaign, with no regrets, and luckily we have two players in good form,” he said.

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

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10 Jun 2012