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Thierry Henry: A Closer Look at his Coaching Record After Landing France U-21 Job

Thierry Henry: A Closer Look at his Coaching Record After Landing France U-21 Job

Thierry Henry has not really had the most glittering career as a manager since transitioning into the role after his retirement, but it appears that his reputation is still doing him favours and gotten him a lucrative job in coaching the France U-21 side.

There is little doubting the quality of the player that Henry was and the incredible career that he had. The Frenchman won every major trophy there was to win, from the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euros, UEFA Champions League and even the ‘golden’ Premier League trophy for Arsenal’s Invincible season.

He broke all kinds of goal-scoring records, ending his career with over 350 goals and uncountable memories. After hanging up his boots in 2014, Henry has been phasing in & out of the football management scene – even trying his hand (quite successfully) in the football punditry scene as well.

Thierry Henry set for France U-21 role

Henry gained a reputation for forming impressive chemistry with the CBS Sports’ Champions League show panel, especially his flirtatious efforts with Kate Abdo. However, it now appears that the Frenchman is in for a career change again and is ready to test his ability as a manager after a little bit of an exodus from it.

According to reports, Henry was appointed as the new manager of the France U-21 national team after a unanimous decision from the entire recruitment board.  Sylvain Ripoll was sacked as the manager by the board after the French side were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the U-21 European Championship earlier this summer by Romania.

It is stated that the France Football Association picked him over other options like Jocelyn Gourvennec (former Lille manager), Sabri Lamouchi (ex Rennes boss) and Julian Stéphan (former Strasbourg manager). Henry will have to give up his duties as a TV pundit in France (where he works for Amazon Prime Video) as well as abroad, meaning that he’ll move away from the CBS Sports’ Champions League panel too.

Prime Video also acknowledged his departure, sending a message to Henry and saying: “We are very happy for Thierry and wish him the best for his career as coach of the Bleuets.” With that being said, many fans are wondering how the 46-year-old even got the job considering his very underwhelming career as a manager since trying his luck in that field following his playing career.

What has Henry achieved in his managerial career?

Henry took up his first major coaching role as the assistant manager for Roberto Martinez for the Belgium national team from 2016-2018. He had worked as a coach for Arsenal’s youth teams before that, with the Frenchman helping Belgium achieve their best-ever finish in the 2018 FIFA World Cup with a third-place finish.

After that, he spent one season as the AS Monaco manager for the 2018-19 season but was barely able to help them avoid relegation as the French side finished in 17th position in the Ligue 1. Following his departure from Monaco, the 46-year-old was roped in by MLS side Montreal Impact and spent around two years with them.

The Frenchman managed the most games in his career with the MLS side and was quite proactive in his work too, as shown in a famous video of him barking orders at his players during a game. After a relatively uneventful spell at Montreal, Henry would return to the Belgium national team in 2021 to act as their assistant coach again.

However, this spell would not be memorable at all – as Henry was the coaching staff that guided Belgium to suffer group stage elimination at the 2022 Qatar World cup before leaving his position. Despite his decorated playing career, Henry has had a very underwhelming managerial career.

When it comes to working as a manager (not an assistant coach), he has only managed about 49 games in his career. Out of that, 20 games included his stint as Monaco manager – in which he only helped them win four games and suffer 11 losses – having a 20% win percentage during that stint.

His work as Montreal Impact manager isn’t that successful either. Henry only had a 31.03% win perctange with the MLS side, only guiding them to 9 wins in 29 matches – suffering 16 losses. Henry might be a proactive manager, but is hardly tactically sound nor is he that effective in motivating his players.

That is why many have been left surprised to see him chosen for the France U-21 managerial role. Perhaps third time can be lucky for the 46-year-old, who aims to turn a new leaf in his managerial career and prove himself a very capable and sound manager for the long-term.