Christian Benteke
Thierry Henry joining Belgium a perfect fit for both parties
Christian Benteke

Thierry Henry joining Belgium a perfect fit for both parties

Published Nov. 15, 2016 2:43 p.m. ET

Thierry Henry announced he's been added to the Belgium national team coaching staff, joining Roberto Martinez on a staff that will try to deliver success with Belgium's "golden generation." The move, while surprising, is an ideal one for both Henry and Belgium.

After a spate of disappointing finishes at the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Euros, Belgium parted ways with coach Marc Wilmots. The Red Devils pulled off a shocking move earlier in August naming Martinez as Wilmots' replacement, despite little to no rumblings that the former Everton manager and Belgium were mutually interested. Similarly, the Henry hiring seems to have come out of nowhere, but brings an additional air of positivity to the beleaguered national team.

Henry previously coached at the club where the Frenchman cemented his legendary status, Arsenal, but left the role earlier this summer. According to reports, Henry who also works for Sky Sports as a pundit, was given an ultimatum by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: either coach full time, or leave. Henry, who has his UEFA A License but needs more experience to earn his UEFA Pro License, even offered to work for free but was overruled.


Henry joining the Belgium staff represents a harmonious move for both parties. The responsibilities and workload for an assistant coach on a national team aren't as arduous as they are on a club team, where competitions are thick and fast. Having that extra time allows Henry to continue his punditry career while also staying on track to become a certified coach. Belgium, meanwhile, add a valuable resource to their staff in a former striker that has scored over 300 goals for clubs and country.

"Thierry is an important figure," Martinez said via BBC Sport. "He will bring something different. He agreed right away to join us."

Henry figures to lend his expertise to a Belgium team that is teeming with attacking talent in players like Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku. Along with Lukaku, Belgium boast a bevy of gifted, but young, strikers. Michy Batshuayi, Christian Benteke, Divock Origi and Lukaku are all just age 25 or under. Henry will have plenty of molding clay to work with to get Belgium to the heights they expect to reach.

Henry's work starts almost immediately, as Belgium take on Spain in a friendly on Sept. 1 before World Cup qualifying resumes on Sept. 6 against Cyprus.



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