Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has expressed his admiration for France coach Laurent Blanc.
Blanc spent two seasons at Old Trafford a decade ago as his playing career was coming to an end and is now forging an impressive reputation for himself as a coach.
After winning the French league with Bordeaux, he has gone on to revive the fortunes of the France team following their calamitous performance at the last World Cup. Yet, so far, Blanc has refused to commit his future beyond this summer's European Championships in Poland and Ukraine and his name is starting to get linked with many of the major jobs, including Chelsea.
Blanc has also been mentioned as a potential replacement for Ferguson at some point, although the Scot has said many times there is no immediate prospect of him standing down.
However, it is clear that Ferguson admires the work Blanc has done with France and, speaking to French radio station RMC Sport about the 46-year-old, the United boss emphsised why he feels the one-time central defender has been such a success.
"The France team is more balanced and has become a winning team again," he said. "As in 1998, it has established a balance between young and experienced players.
"When Laurent played in Manchester he followed our training methods very carefully. That's very intelligent and obviously he has qualities as a coach because he made Les Bleus a winning team again."
Blanc has also successfully reintroduced United full-back Patrice Evra into the fold following the five-match ban he received for his part in the South African mutiny, when France went on strike in protest at the coaching methods of coach Raymond Domenech.
"I spoke with Patrice at the time," said Ferguson. "He suffered greatly. Unfairly in my opinion. He was the spokesman for a group and the views he expressed were not only his personal ones. But he was the one who got punished. He is very happy now though, and particularly with Laurent as the coach."© ESPN