Henry Ready For Montreal Challenge After Monaco Nightmare

Thierry Henry speaks as The Montreal Impact invites members of the media to meet the new head coach at a press conference at the Centre Nutrilait, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on November 18, 2019.
Sebastien ST-JEAN / AFP

 

Newly-appointed Montreal Impact boss Thierry Henry vowed to learn from the mistakes of his disastrous reign at Monaco on Monday but called for patience as he attempts to revive the fortunes of the struggling Major League Soccer outfit.

Speaking at his first press conference since his appointment by Montreal last week, the 42-year-old former France and Arsenal superstar insisted he was ready for the challenge despite his troubled tenure with Ligue 1 side Monaco.

Henry was sacked by Monaco in January after only 100 days in charge as the team nosedived into the relegation zone following his appointment, with just five wins in 20 matches.

“For me, the way I put it is always [either] you win or you learn, and I learned a lot there,” Henry said of his spell at Monaco.

“It’s about coming back, always. You have to get up and be in front of what happens. The only mistake that you can make is not learning from what happened.”

Henry, who was also an assistant coach to Belgium during the country’s 2018 World Cup campaign, where they finished third, said his experiences were part of his evolution as a manager.

“You have to start somewhere,” he said of his time with Belgium and Monaco.

“I learned a lot about myself. It’s about fighting. This isn’t just my story but the story of everyone in life. Everyone falls. It’s about how you get up.”

The Impact’s sporting director Olivier Renard said Henry beat out several candidates under consideration for the Montreal position.

After meeting Henry in mid-October, it was decided then that he should take on the job of rebuilding the foundering franchise, he said.

Henry, who spent four years in MLS with the New York Red Bulls at the tail-end of his playing career, meanwhile urged Montreal’s fans to be patient, saying success won’t come overnight.

“We have a fresh start and we’re going to move forward to rebuild the team,” Henry told reporters.

“We know the direction we want to go, but you can’t build a new team in two months, or three months or even a year,” he said. “We have a lot of hard work ahead of us, and it will require patience.

“We also need to win back the support of fans. I think this is very important because fans and the city, the community need to feel a connection to the team. It’s up to us to bring them back on our side.”

AFP

‘I Can Be A Successful Coach’, Thierry Henry Reveals Five Offers

Belgium Promote Thierry Henry To Assistant Coach
Belgium’s assistant coach Thierry Henry plays with the ball during a training session of Belgium’s national football team at the Guchkovo Stadium in Dedovsk, outside Moscow. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

France football legend Thierry Henry is keen for another chance to prove he can be a successful manager despite his unhappy brief tenure at Ligue 1 side Monaco.

The 42-year-old — Arsenal’s record goalscorer — told the Daily Telegraph that although his phone did not ring for four months following his sacking, things have picked up since then and he has received five offers.

Henry’s dream return last October to manage Monaco, the club where he established his reputation as a top-class striker, turned into a nightmare.

READ ALSO: Coutinho Will Not Start For Bayern On Saturday – Kovac

Having been part of Belgium manager Roberto Martinez’s backroom team at the World Cup — where they reached the semi-finals — he lasted just over 100 days after only four league wins.

“Call me crazy if you want, but I love football and I believe I can be a successful coach,” he said.

“I’m not thinking about the pain, I’m not thinking about failure. I don’t like easy.

“I like to lead and it’s on me to make it happen. The same when I joined Arsenal as a player, the same when I went to Belgium with Roberto. It’s an evolution.”

 ‘Communication and honesty’ 

Henry, who was a member of the France squads that won both the 1998 World Cup and the Euro 2000 title, said although he has been contacted over jobs, he has yet to find the right fit.

“My phone didn’t ring for four months after I left Monaco and then all of a sudden I got five calls,” he said.

“Some were not what I was looking for and some were as a number two.”

“I won’t do a number two job because I want to be number one.”

Henry, who has spoken with basketball and athletics coaches since being fired to gain extra insight into coaching top-level athletes, says it is frustrating having to wait around for another opportunity but he is convinced football coaching is where his future lies.

“I came out of it fully reassured that’s what I want to do, zero doubt about it,” he said.

All Henry asks is for transparency from his employers.

“Communication and honesty from the start are key,” he said.

“What’s the job? Is the job to stay up, is the job to win the League or be in the Champions League?

“But how and what is a success? Is a success in improving players? Ultimately, the results are the most important thing, but I want to improve players as well.”

AFP

Monaco Sack Henry, Bring Jardim Back

Thierry Henry was sacked on Friday, a day after he was suspended by the Ligue 1 club.
ROMAIN LAFABREGUE / AFP

 

Leonardo Jardim returned for a second spell as Monaco coach on Friday, just over three months after he was sacked, the struggling French Ligue 1 club announced.

Jardim replaces Thierry Henry who was suspended on Thursday and then sacked on Friday with the team second-from-bottom in the French top division with just 15 points.

Portuguese coach Jardim, 41, has signed a deal until June 2021 and will take charge of the team for Tuesday’s League Cup clash against Guingamp.

Monaco’s chief executive Vadim Vasilyev said that it had been a mistake to sack Jardim after the 2-1 home defeat to Rennes on October 7 last year.

His departure, however, would have been comfortably cushioned by a reported 8.5 million euro pay-off.

“Today we realise that the story of Leonardo Jardim at the club did not end as it was meant to. Leonardo should have been given an opportunity to continue his job,” admitted Vasilyev.

Leonardo Jardim was sacked in October 2018. ROBERT MICHAEL / AFP

 

Jardim joined Monaco in 2014 and took them to a first Ligue 1 title in 17 years in 2017. They also made the Champions League semi-finals.

“Our club is going through a very challenging period. I am ready to admit that I personally bear the responsibility for this,” added Vasilyev.

“We have to acknowledge that during the summer transfer window, we sold too many key players and, despite considerable investments, mistakes were made with respect to their replacement.

“This did not allow us to create a new, competitive team. The decision to dismiss Leonardo Jardim was also premature.”

Former Arsenal and France striker Henry earned the Principality club just two league wins since his arrival in October.

However, his departure will not come cheap.

He was reported to be earning an estimated 3.2 million euros a year. With two and a half years still left on his contract, Monaco’s owners face having to pay out another eight million as compensation.

“Thierry Henry is a football legend but due to a very unfavourable mix of circumstances, including, above all, numerous injuries to our players, hampered him from quickly and effectively leading the team out of the crisis,” said Vasilyev.

Franck Passi will be in charge of the team for the weekend clash against Dijon.

AFP

Monaco Coach Thierry Henry Suspended Ahead Of Relegation Showdown

Champions League 'Dream' Awaits Monaco Coach Henry
Monaco’s French coach Thierry Henry/ AFP

 

Former Arsenal and France striker Thierry Henry has been suspended from his role as coach of Monaco with his team second bottom of Ligue 1, the Ligue 1 club announced on Thursday.

“Henry has been suspended until a definitive decision is made,” the club said in a statement, adding that assistant coach Franck Passi would oversee training on Friday ahead of the weekend’s clash with fellow strugglers Dijon.

 

Henry, 41, was suspended by Monaco, who are second-from-bottom in the French league with 15 points after the former Arsenal and France striker earned the Principality club just two wins since his arrival in October.

He took up the post with the 2017 French champions in October following the sacking of title-winner Leonardo Jardim but failed to improve on the poor start to the campaign by his predecessor.

Monaco are two points behind Dijon, who are 17th and a further point from safety, after collecting only three wins from 21 matches, and crashed out of Europe early after finishing bottom of Champions League Group A with just a single point.

Their miserable form under Henry culminated in a humiliating 3-1 French Cup defeat to second-tier Metz on Tuesday and a 5-1 home Ligue 1 hammering by Strasbourg last weekend, during which the tension surrounding Henry began to show.

Henry was forced to apologise after being caught calling Strasbourg defender Kenny Lala’s grandmother “a whore” after he delayed a throw-in with the score still 2-1.

Monaco have brought in players in the transfer window but Henry’s former Arsenal teammate Cesc Fabregas — who arrived from Chelsea — was at fault for Strasbourg’s third, while fellow new arrival Naldo left them with an uphill battle after being sent off in the seventh minute.

However, escape from the relegation zone is possible as the two sides immediately outside the bottom three — Caen and Amiens — face Champions League-chasing Montpellier and Lyon and can be caught should the pair lose to their high-flying opponents and Monaco beat Dijon.

AFP

More Misery For Henry As Club Brugge Thrash Monaco

Monaco’s French coach Thierry Henry (L) comforts Monaco’s French defender Djibril Sidibe after being defeated 4-0 by Brugge at the end of the UEFA Champions League Group A football match between AS Monaco and Club Brugge at the Stade Louis II in Monaco, on November 6, 2018.
VALERY HACHE / AFP

 

Thierry Henry’s Monaco crashed to an embarrassing 4-0 home defeat by Club Brugge on Tuesday that left the French side tumbling towards an early Champions League exit.

Giant striker Hans Vanaken scored twice, the second from the penalty spot, while Brazilian forward Wesley banged in a third as Monaco fell three goals behind in just 24 minutes.

Ruud Vormer condemned Monaco to their heaviest ever home loss in Europe as he netted a fourth with five minutes left.

Club Brugge’s Ruud Vormer (C/#25) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s fourth goal. Photo: VALERY HACHE / AFP

 

Henry remains without a win in five matches since replacing Leonardo Jardim last month in his first managerial role, as Monaco’s winless run in the competition extended to 12 outings.

The 2017 French champions will be eliminated if Atletico Madrid beat Group A leaders Borussia Dortmund later on Tuesday.

Henry was dealt another injury blow ahead of kick-off with Russia international Aleksandr Golovin ruled out with an ankle problem, while the game came too soon for inspirational Portuguese winger Rony Lopes.

Radamel Falcao returned to captain the side after missing the reverse fixture, a 1-1 draw on October 24, and the Colombian went close in the first few minutes as he headed a tough chance wide at the far post.

Sofiane Diop should have fired Monaco ahead when he had just Brugge goalkeeper Evan Horvath to beat, but the US international pulled off a brilliant save to keep out the teenager’s powerful strike from close range.

Brugge were without a win in the Champions League group stage since 2005, but the Belgians grabbed the lead on 12 minutes as Vanaken picked out the roof of the net from a Mats Rits cross.

Monaco’s players react after the game. PHOTO: VALERY HACHE / AFP

 

It got worse for Monaco five minutes later as Antonio Barreca was whistled for a handball while attempting to block a shot from Vanaken, who smacked the resulting penalty beyond Diego Benaglio.

Passive defending allowed Wesley to blast home a third, the Brazilian picking the up ball in the channel down the left and skipping past Kamil Glik before hammering in from the edge of the area.

Horvath produced another sharp save to dig out a deflected effort from Youri Tielemans, but Henry effectively accepted the game was up when he removed Falcao for 17-year-old Gobe Gouano on the hour.

Djibril Sidibe sent a flashing drive across the face of the Brugge goal in a rare second-half opening for the hosts, but a dreadful evening was compounded by more appalling defending to allow Vormer a fourth — after Glik had hobbled off with a groin injury.

A flick-on by Rezaei Kaveh skipped past both Tielemans and Almamy Toure to leave Vormer to scamper clear and stroke beyond Benaglio to cap Brugge’s first group stage victory since a 3-2 home defeat of Rapid Vienna in November 2005.

AFP

Monaco Winless Run Troubles Henry

Monaco Winless Run Troubles Henry
Monaco’s French head coach Thierry Henry reacts after the French L1 football match AS Monaco FC vs Dijon FCO at the Louis II Stadium in Monaco on October 27, 2018. YANN COATSALIOU / AFP

 

Monaco coach Thierry Henry refused to look for excuses for his winless run at Monaco on Monday, insisting he and his players will dig deep against Brugge in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Henry has yet to win in four games since taking charge at Monaco, losing to Strasbourg and Reims and drawing with Dijon in the league and drawing at Belgian outfit Brugge in the last round of European matches.

“It’s a huge game,” said former Arsenal and Barcelona striker Henry, who was Belgium’s assistant coach in the last World Cup.

“We need the three points even if some might say we should have taken three in our last game too.”

Henry’s side are third in Group A, level with Brugge on a point with Dortmund on nine and Atletico on six.

“You can’t change everything in two weeks, but we shouldn’t think about it all too much,” said the smooth-talking Frenchman, who began his playing career at Monaco.

“Work is the key, each of us needs to look inside ourselves and work out what more we can do.”

French champions in 2017, Monaco have sold Kylian Mbappe to PSG, Bernado Silva, and Benjamin Mendy to Man City, Tiemoue Bakayoko to Chelsea, Thomas Lemar to Atletico Madrid and Fabinho to Liverpool in the last 18-months.

Henry played down the role of changes in playing staff in Monaco’s worrying collapse.

“The changes are no excuse,” insisted Henry, who took over from the sacked Portuguese coach Leonardo Jardim in mid-October.

“It’s a mental thing but I’m not going to pretend this isn’t worrying, because it is,” he said.

“It’s up to us to turn things around with hard work.”

One star player Monaco held onto is the France defender Djibril Sidibé, who helped his nation win the 2018 World Cup.

“I can’t pretend I’m not worried,” said the 26-year-old right-sided defender.

“It’s got into our heads, me as much as any of the others,” said Sidibe, who sat beside Henry at the press conference ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League game they need to win to qualify for the Europa League by finishing in third place.

“There are plenty of young players here and many of them have little experience.

“It’ll be a high-level match and we have to focus on winning it,” he added.

AFP

Henry Still Waiting For First Win As Monaco Held At Brugge

Henry Still Waiting For First Win As Monaco Held At Brugge

 

An injury-hit Monaco failed to give Thierry Henry his first win as a head coach with a 1-1 Champions League draw at Club Brugge on Wednesday.

Moussa Sylla raised hopes of Monaco ending an 11-match winless streak by opening the scoring just after the half-hour mark at the Jan Breydel Stadium, but Wesley struck for the Belgian champions to secure a point.

The principality club have now also gone 11 Champions League games without a victory since their thrilling 6-3 aggregate triumph over Borussia Dortmund in the 2016-17 quarter-finals.

Henry, who took over from the sacked Leonardo Jardim earlier this month, saw his young side put in a spirited display despite being depleted by a raft of injuries, although the result leaves both sides facing elimination from Group A.

Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid lead the way, five points clear of Monaco and Brugge, ahead of their meeting at Signal Iduna Park later on Wednesday.

Monaco will now hope it is a case of third time lucky under Henry when they host Dijon on Saturday, looking to drag themselves out of the Ligue 1 relegation zone.

Henry was forced to hand a full debut to 20-year-old fourth-choice goalkeeper Loic Badiashile in West Flanders, with Danijel Subasic and Diego Benaglio out injured and Seydou Sy, who made a dreadful error in Monaco’s loss to Strasbourg at the weekend, not registered to play in the Champions League.

– Jovetic joins injury list –

Nothing was going right for Monaco’s new coach, as after Radamel Falcao had hobbled off injured on Saturday, Henry was left without a senior striker when Stevan Jovetic had to be replaced by teenager Sofiane Diop in only the 12th minute.

But his fellow 18-year-old Sylla put the visitors ahead in the 32nd minute, darting onto Aleksandr Golovin’s through ball and sliding home his maiden Champions League goal.

Sylla should have doubled the lead before half-time as he raced clear of home goalkeeper Karlo Letica, only to roll the ball wide of an empty net.

He was made to pay just seconds later, as Brazilian forward Wesley saw his header take a big deflection off Monaco centre-back Kamil Glik and spin past the despairing dive of Badiashile.

Ivan Leko’s Brugge continued to create chances in the second half, but after a flowing move which sliced Monaco open, captain Ruud Vormer hacked his strike well over the crossbar.

After a nervous moment when Badiashile lost possession outside his own area, Monaco went straight up the other end and nearly retook the lead when Golovin’s drive was beaten away by Letica.

Henry, who was assistant coach to Roberto Martinez for Belgium during their run to the World Cup semi-finals, replaced substitute Diop with midfielder Jean-Eudes Aholou in an attempt to seal a point, but they needed a massive slice of luck to escape with a draw.

With Martinez watching on in the stands, 18-year-old Belgian Lois Openda wasted a glorious opportunity deep into added time, heading wide from barely two yards out with an open goal to aim at.

AFP

Champions League ‘Dream’ Awaits Monaco Coach Henry

Champions League 'Dream' Awaits Monaco Coach Henry
Monaco’s French coach Thierry Henry reacts on the pitch prior to the French L1 football match between Monaco and Strasbourg on October 20, 2018, at the Stade de la Meinau in Strasbourg, eastern France. Frederick FLORIN / AFP

 

Newly-appointed Monaco coach Thierry Henry has no intention of sulking over the Ligue 1 side’s poor domestic form as he seeks a “dream” Champions League date with Club Brugge Wednesday.

Former Arsenal and France star Henry kicked off his fledgeling coaching career with a 2-1 away defeat to Strasbourg at the weekend, a result that left the struggling Principality side second from bottom of the French league table.

Monaco fans will be hoping it won’t be more of the same on Wednesday when they face the Belgians away looking to claim their first points of the group stages.

Henry, a Champions League winner with Barcelona in 2009, believes it could be just the tonic to get Monaco, beaten finalists in 2004, back on track.

“People might ask if this match is coming at the right time for me, given our position in the table,” Henry said in Bruges on Tuesday.

“But they say the same about the teams leading the table, they say the Champions League can’t be won by teams fighting for the (domestic) title.

“I don’t see it like that. The Champions League is a dream. You want to play in it, you want to be part of it and it might just be what we need to give us back some confidence.”

After succeeding Leonardo Jardim at the Monaco helm, in just one week Henry has “introduced a degree of tactical flexibility” into Monaco’s game, said midfielder Youri Tielemans, who knows Henry well from his previous role as an assistant to Roberto Martinez in the Belgium set-up.

Henry expects a tough game at the Jan Breydelstadion against a team with “quality” players who “know how to fight till the end”.

But the 41-year-old Frenchman has insisted on instilling a degree of optimism and is adopting a philosophical approach as he looks for the performance that will help Monaco believe again.

“We’re not in a situation where we can laugh about things, but we have to combine respect, humility, hard work and joy,” said Henry.

“It’s always easier to work when there’s joy.”

Henry’s first game in charge as coach was marked by a 17th-minute opener for Strasbourg and a sending-off which left Monaco, now 24 points adrift of leaders Paris Saint-Germain, fighting for the scraps.

But the World Cup winner insists his Champions League debut as a coach cannot come quick enough.

“It’s good for us to have this match right after Strasbourg, so we can try and regain some confidence and not think too much about certain things.

“We’re looking for a win or a really good performance as quickly as possible.”

AFP

Henry Suffers Defeat In First Match As Monaco Coach

Monaco’s French coach Thierry Henry reacts on the pitch prior to the French L1 football match between Monaco and Strasbourg on October 20, 2018 at the Stade de la Meinau in Strasbourg, eastern France. Frederick FLORIN / AFP

 

Thierry Henry suffered defeat in his first match as a head coach when his 10-man Monaco side slumped to a 2-1 loss at Strasbourg on Saturday to drop into the Ligue 1 relegation zone, while Paris Saint-Germain eased to a 10th straight victory to start their title defence.

The principality club have failed to win in 11 games in all competitions since the opening weekend of the French top-flight season, and are only above bottom team Guingamp on goal difference.

Monaco, who were runners-up to PSG last season, are now 24 points adrift of the reigning champions after they cruised to a 5-0 thrashing of Amiens at the Parc des Princes despite resting several key players.

A dreadful error by Monaco’s third-choice goalkeeper Seydou Sy gifted Strasbourg midfielder, Adrien Thomasson, an early opener, and substitute Samuel Grandsir was sent off midway through the second half.

Lebo Mothiba doubled the advantage, and a late Youri Tielemans penalty was a mere consolation for the 2017 Ligue 1 title-winners.

Henry — a World Cup winner and Arsenal’s all-time record goalscorer who started his playing career at Monaco — made four changes to the team which lost to Rennes before the international break, with former Manchester City and Inter Milan striker Stevan Jovetic restored up front.

But his new side got off to the worst possible start as they handed Strasbourg a 17th-minute lead.

Kenny Lala’s long ball forward was nodded hopefully towards goal by Thomasson, but Senegalese ‘keeper Sy — who was only playing due to injuries to Diego Benaglio and Danijel Subasic — comically fumbled the ball over his own line.

A disappointing first half ended poorly for Henry and Monaco, as captain and star striker Radamel Falcao was forced off injured.

Monaco started the second half quickly and almost equalised when centre-back Kamil Glik’s volley was hacked off the line by home defender Lala.

But it was proving a miserable debut for Henry, as just two minutes after being brought on as a substitute, Grandsir was given a straight red card for catching Anthony Goncalves in the hip with a high boot, with the Strasbourg winger collapsing to the ground holding his face.

As the visitors pushed for an equaliser, they were hit on the counter-attack in the 84th minute as South African international Mothiba raced clear before a cute lob gave him his seventh goal of the season for club and country.

Tielemans pulled one back with an injury-time spot-kick after Moussa Sylla was brought down in the area, but it proved too little, too late.

– PSG make it 10/10 –

Paris Saint-Germain continued the blistering start to their Ligue 1 title defence as Kylian Mbappe scored again earlier on Saturday.

Coach Thomas Tuchel left key men Neymar, Thiago Silva and Thomas Meunier out of the squad altogether at the Parc des Princes with Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Napoli in mind, but PSG had more than enough to see off Amiens.

“Everyone thinks that Ligue 1 might be too easy to prepare for the Champions League, but it’s not like that,” insisted Tuchel, who took over the reins from Unai Emery in the close-season.

“That would mean you’re blaming the other teams, but we focus on ourselves. Nobody won 10 games in a row, and we did it.”

Brazilian centre-back Marquinhos nodded the hosts into a 12th-minute lead and Adrien Rabiot made it two shortly before half-time.

Germany winger Julian Draxler grabbed the third headed goal of the game, and the 19-year-old Mbappe fired in late on to score his ninth goal in just six league outings this season.

It was a horrid mismatch with Amiens utterly outclassed, and teenager Moussa Diaby came off the bench to complete the rout as the capital-city giants maintained their commanding eight-point lead at the top of the table.

Elsewhere, second-placed Lille continued their strong start to the campaign as goals from Nicolas Pepe and Luiz Araujo sealed a 2-1 win over Dijon.

AFP

Thierry Henry Named New Monaco Coach – Club

Thierry Henry/ AFP

 

Former Arsenal star Thierry Henry was on Saturday named as Monaco coach, taking his first job in club management after leaving his position with the Belgium national team.

The 41-year-old French World Cup winner, who had been working as an assistant to Belgium coach Roberto Martinez since 2016, returns to the club where he began his professional career.

He has signed a contract with Monaco until June 2021.

Henry replaces Leonardo Jardim, who in 2017 guided Monaco to their first Ligue 1 title since 2000. He was sacked on Thursday after a string of poor results left Monaco in the relegation places.

The former striker will be joined by Joao Carlos Valado Tralhao, under-23 coach at Benfica, and Patrick Kwame Ampadu, coach at Arsenal’s academy and father of Chelsea player Ethan Ampadu.

Henry graduated from Monaco’s youth system and made his debut for the club in 1994.

He notably scored seven goals in the 1997-8 Champions League as the Monaco team of the time, then coached by Arsene Wenger, reached the semi-finals, where they lost to Juventus.

‘Can’t wait’ 

Henry said it was “fate” that he had returned to the Principality club.

“It is with great pride that I am delighted to announce that I have accepted the position to become the manager of AS Monaco FC,” he said on Twitter.

“I was fortunate to receive some very attractive offers over the last few months but Monaco will always be close to my heart.

“Having started my footballing career with this great club, it seems like fate that I will now begin my managerial career here too.

“I’m incredibly excited to be given this opportunity but now the hard work must begin. Can’t wait.”

After spending five seasons as a player with Monaco, Henry went on to play for Juventus, Arsenal, Barcelona and the New York Red Bulls.

While at Arsenal, he was the Premier League’s top scorer for four seasons and has been tipped as a future manager of the London club.

Henry scored 51 goals in 123 appearances for France, winning not only the 1998 World Cup but also Euro 2000.

After the duo oversaw Belgium’s 2-1 win against Switzerland in the Nations League on Friday, Martinez said Henry “has the potential to become a great coach”.

Monaco chief executive officer Vadim Vasilyev, said Henry could “count on our trust and all our support to bring a new dynamic to the team and carry out the mission”.

“His knowledge of football, his passion for the game, his high standards and his commitment to our colours make his nomination a reality.

Thierry is both aware of the task ahead and eager to start his new job.”

AFP

 

Belgium Promote Thierry Henry To Assistant Coach

Belgium Promote Thierry Henry To Assistant Coach
Belgium’s assistant coach Thierry Henry plays with the ball during a training session of Belgium’s national football team at the Guchkovo Stadium in Dedovsk, outside Moscow, on July 8, 2018, ahead of their Russia 2018 World Cup semi-final football match against France. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Belgium on Friday promoted Thierry Henry to the number two job with the national side, just days after the Arsenal and France great turned down the manager’s job at Bordeaux.

The 41-year-old, who helped manager Roberto Martinez steer the Red Devils to third place at this summer’s World Cup in Russia, rebuffed the six-time French champions citing “uncertainty” behind the scenes at the club.

AFP

Thierry Henry In ‘Wrong Camp’ For World Cup Semi – France

Belgium’s assistant coach Thierry Henry plays with the ball during a training session of Belgium’s national football team at the Guchkovo Stadium in Dedovsk, outside Moscow, on July 8, 2018, ahead of their Russia 2018 World Cup semi-final football match against France. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

When France line up for their World Cup semi-final French great Thierry Henry will stare back at them from the Belgium bench — and Les Bleus can’t stop talking about it

Henry, who was part of the France squad that won the 1998 World Cup on home soil, has been assistant manager to Belgium boss Roberto Martinez since 2016 and has helped guide the Red Devils to the last four of a World Cup for just the second time.

The irony that a player who scored 51 goals in 123 international appearances and helped France become world and European champions is now plotting to stop them reaching the final in Russia is not lost on the current French team.

“It will be bizarre to have him up against us,” forward Olivier Giroud said. “He is a living legend of French football.

“He has given so much to the France team and we have got a lot of respect for what he has done.”

“But of course I would be proud to show ‘Titi’ that he has chosen the wrong camp,” Giroud added, using Henry’s French nickname.

 ‘Lost sight of him’ 

After spending most of his career at Premier League club Arsenal and putting down roots in England, 40-year-old Henry has had little involvement in French football despite being one of the most popular players that France has ever produced.

French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet told AFP pointedly that “we’ve rather lost sight of him and he has little contact with the federation”.

“Life can be like that sometimes. He has been in England a long time and personally I have very little contact with him,” Le Graet said.

He said Henry had made Belgium into “a team that likes to attack”.

“The strikers go to him, they respect him,” he said.

Henry had little previous coaching experience and the president said he had “probably chosen the right solution” by taking the job of an assistant.

He compared Henry’s early steps in coaching to those followed by Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid before he took the top job and went on to win three Champions League titles in a row.

“It is definitely better to start as assistant in a national team, even if he was hoping it would be in Arsenal’s staff,” Le Graet said. “There is no doubt that he has a career in coaching ahead of him.”

Henry, now sporting a thick beard, is happy to remain in the background as Martinez, a former manager of English clubs Wigan and Everton, does the talking to the media.

He joined the Belgium setup in 2016 just after Martinez was appointed and reportedly set to work immediately with forwards Romelu Lukaku and Michy Batshuayi.

Though a very different player from the elegant Frenchman, the powerfully built Lukaku showed a touch of Henry in his intelligent dummy that allowed the ball to run through to Nacer Chadli to score Belgium’s winner in the thrilling come-from-behind 3-2 win over Japan in the last 16.

Jean-Marie Pfaff, the Belgium goalkeeper when they last reached the World Cup semi-finals in 1986, told AFP’s German sports agency SID that Henry would be “France’s main opponent” in the semi-final.

“He plays an extremely important role for Martinez,” Pfaff said. “Martinez regularly asks him for advice and he listens to it. I think that Thierry Henry can be credited with some of the tactical ploys.”

Giroud, who like Henry was an Arsenal forward until he joined Chelsea last year, wishes Henry were on the French staff.

“Of course I wish he was with us and was giving advice to me and the other strikers. But we can’t be envious. It is not something that shocks me because it is a normal move at this stage in his career.”

France defender Lucas Hernandez said he was sure Henry would be happy if France beat his employers on Wednesday.

“He’ll be happy if we win because above all else he is a Frenchman,” the 22-year-old left-back said.

AFP