Arsenal legend to be appointed France u21 head coach

His expected appointment comes after the nation’s recent underwhelming performance at the Euros.

  • Thierry Henry, the Arsenal legend, is set to become the new France under-21 head coach after recent disappointments in the Euros.
  • Despite having an iffy managerial record, Henry’s rich playing career seems to have influenced the FFF’s decision.
  • The former Gunner has ambitions of leading the French U21s to gold at the upcoming Paris Olympics.

 

Montpellier’s French forward Elye Wahi (L) stands next to French former football player Thierry Henry after receiving the best goal of the year award during the 31th edition of the UNFP (French National Professional Football players Union) trophy ceremony, in Paris May 28, 2023. (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)

Thierry Henry will be named the new coach for the France under-21 team by the French Football Federation (FFF).

This comes as a significant move following France’s subpar showing at the recent Euros, where they faced an early exit at the hands of Ukraine.

Interestingly, the FFF opted for Henry, despite his relatively turbulent managerial history.

The choice seems influenced more by his exemplary playing career than his coaching record.

Monaco's French head coach Thierry Henry looks on during the French L1 football match between Lyon (OL) and Monaco (ASM) on December 16, 2018, at the Groupama Stadium in Decines-Charpieu near Lyon, central-eastern France. (Photo by ROMAIN LAFABREGUE / AFP)
Monaco’s French head coach Thierry Henry looks on during the French L1 football match between Lyon (OL) and Monaco (ASM) on December 16, 2018, at the Groupama Stadium in Decines-Charpieu near Lyon, central-eastern France. (Photo by ROMAIN LAFABREGUE / AFP)

Henry’s previous roles, particularly his time with Belgium, and his legendary status within football might have tilted the scales in his favour.

The decision by the FFF has come after Sylvain Rippoll‘s reign ended on a disappointing note.

Under Rippoll, the French side couldn’t progress past the quarterfinals of the Euros, having been ousted by Ukraine.

Henry’s iconic status in the footballing world is undeniable. Not only did he have a decorated career with Arsenal and then Barcelona, but he also boasts of an impressive international portfolio.

Arsenal undefeated: CARDIFF, UNITED KINGDOM: Arsenal's French forward Thierry Henry (R) and captain Patrick Vieira (L) congratulate Brazilian player Gilberto Silva (C) on his goal during the FA Community Shield match against Liverpool at the Millenium stadium in Cardiff, 11 August 2002. (Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images)
CARDIFF, UNITED KINGDOM: Arsenal’s French forward Thierry Henry (R) and captain Patrick Vieira (L) congratulate Brazilian player Gilberto Silva (C) on his goal during the FA Community Shield match against Liverpool at the Millennium stadium in Cardiff, 11 August 2002. (Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images)

With World Cup and Euros wins under his belt, and having played a crucial role in the team that reached the 2006 World Cup final, his experience is unparalleled.

However, his managerial pursuits have not mirrored his playing achievements. With relatively unsuccessful spells with Monaco and Montreal, there were questions about his readiness for a new challenge.

Just this summer, he turned down the change to be assistant manager at PSG.

But, sources suggest that Henry has a burning desire to make a mark in this role.

They told ESPN that he voluntarily accepted a reduced salary for the U21 position.

Furthermore, he has a vision of guiding the young French squad to victory at the forthcoming Olympics in Paris.

Henry’s journey and aspirations

Belgium's assistant coach Thierry Henry (L) talks to Belgium's head coach Roberto Martinez during a training session in Tubize on October 3, 2016, ahead of a World Cup 2018 qualification game against Bosnia and Herzegovina on October 7. Picture: BRUNO FAHY/AFP/Getty Images
Belgium’s assistant coach Thierry Henry (L) talks to Belgium’s head coach Roberto Martinez during a training session in Tubize on October 3, 2016, ahead of a World Cup 2018 qualification game against Bosnia and Herzegovina on October 7. Picture: BRUNO FAHY/AFP/Getty Images

After ending his tenure as the assistant for the Belgium team post-2022 World Cup, the Arsenal great has been in search of a fresh challenge, with many linked but none seeming to fit.

His passion for football and drive to develop younger talents made this U21 role a fitting next step.

With the Olympics on the horizon, Henry has a golden opportunity to not only rebuild his managerial reputation but also to further engrave his legacy in the annals of football history.

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