Thierry Henry praises Wenger and Guardiola as he leads France U21 to another win

Thierry Henry, the new head coach of France U21 team, has expressed his admiration for his former managers Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola, who he said had a major impact on his career as a player and a coach. Henry, who played under Wenger at Arsenal and Guardiola at Barcelona, said that both of them taught him different aspects of the game.

“Arsene Wenger opened my mind. He made me understand what the game was about. He made me realise that it was more than just running around and scoring goals,” Henry said in a press conference. “He taught me how to play with different systems, how to adapt to different situations, how to analyse the game and how to be a leader.”

Thierry Henry praises Wenger and Guardiola as he leads France U21 to another win
Thierry Henry praises Wenger and Guardiola as he leads France U21 to another win

Henry also praised Guardiola, who he worked with as an assistant coach at Belgium after his playing days. “Pep Guardiola opened my eyes. He showed me another way of seeing the game, another way of training, another way of managing,” Henry said. “He challenged me to think differently, to question everything, to be more creative and innovative.”

Henry said that he learned a lot from both Wenger and Guardiola, and that he hopes to apply some of their principles and methods in his new role as France U21 coach.

Henry enjoys a winning start with France U21

Henry, who was appointed as the France U21 coach in August 2023, has enjoyed a winning start with his young squad. He led them to a 4-1 victory over Denmark in his first game in charge on September 7, followed by a 4-0 win over Slovenia on September 11. Both games were part of the European Championship qualifiers.

Henry said that he was pleased with the performance and attitude of his players, who showed enthusiasm, discipline and quality on the pitch. He singled out Elye Wahi, the 18-year-old striker who scored twice in both games, as one of the standout performers. “He is a very talented player, very mature for his age. He has a great mentality and a great hunger for goals,” Henry said.

Henry also said that he was happy to return to Clairefontaine, the national training centre where he spent many years as a player for France. He said that he felt a lot of emotion and nostalgia when he arrived there with his U21 team. “I have so many memories here, so many moments that marked my career. It’s an honour to be back here as a coach,” Henry said.

Henry aims for success at Paris Olympics

Henry’s main objective as France U21 coach is to qualify for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, where he hopes to lead his team to glory in front of their home fans. He said that it would be a dream come true for him and his players to represent their country at such a prestigious event.

“It’s a huge motivation for us. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s something that we all want to achieve,” Henry said. “We know that it won’t be easy, but we have the talent and the ambition to do it.”

Henry said that he was confident that his team could compete with the best in Europe and the world, and that he would do everything in his power to prepare them for the challenge ahead. He said that he would draw inspiration from his own experience as an Olympic champion, having won the gold medal with France at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

“I know what it feels like to win the Olympics. It’s an incredible feeling. It’s something that you never forget,” Henry said. “I want to share that feeling with my players. I want them to feel proud of themselves and proud of their country.”

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