Laurent Koscielny
Laurent Koscielny has won 49 senior caps for France to date, scoring his only goal against Scotland last year

Russia 2018 will mark the international swansong of Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny, who has stated his intention to retire from France duty after next summer's World Cup finals.

The experienced centre-back, who debuted for Les Bleus in 2011 and has already represented his country at three major tournaments, will surpass the 50-cap mark over the next week if he is selected by manager Didier Deschamps to feature in both friendly encounters against Wales and Germany.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of that first clash in Saint-Denis on Friday night (10 November), Koscielny explained that he would be stepping aside in order to help talent-rich France fully transition into an exciting new era spearheaded by the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, Adrien Rabiot, Thomas Lemar, Benjamin Mendy, Corentin Tolisso and Samuel Umtiti.

"I am 32, I still have a few years ahead of me but perhaps my final months with the French national team," he told reporters.

"I am trying to enjoy these moments to the maximum. I am closer to the end than to the beginning.

"The new generation is starting to make a name for itself in the French national team but there are still a few older ones who are resisting it. Age also means that this decision has to be made. I have done what I was supposed to do in the French national team. I have six more months to enjoy myself and to take away as many souvenirs as possible, as my wife says. I will take what I can until June."

After eventually deciding to resist overtures from Poland, whom he was eligible to represent through his grandfather, Koscielny's £10m ($13m) move from Lorient to Arsenal bolstered his claims for a maiden France cap and he finally made his senior bow under Laurent Blanc during a 1-0 friendly win over the United States in November 2011.

His made just one appearance at Euro 2012 after Philippe Mexes was suspended for the quarter-final defeat to Spain and played in three of the 1998 winners' five matches en route to the last-eight of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. He started all seven games last summer as France reached the final of the European Championship on home soil before losing in extra-time to Portugal.

Koscielny's impending international retirement is good news for Arsenal as he bids to effectively manage longstanding achilles tendon problems that require daily treatment during the twilight of his club career. The Gunners' vice-captain was diagnosed with chronic tendinitis in both feet back in 2014 and has been contending with the issue ever since.

Indeed, the injury caused the player to miss Arsenal's win over Brighton & Hove Albion and Group A winners France's final pair of World Cup qualifiers against Bulgaria and Belarus in October. He aggravated it again during a last-gasp 2-1 loss at Watford, but was passed fit for the subsequent defeat of Everton.