Thierry Henry, the former Arsenal and Barcelona forward, has been appointed as the new coach of France’s Under-21 national team until 2025.
The 46-year-old left his role as an assistant manager for Belgium’s national team after the 2022 World Cup. Henry’s task will include leading France’s Under-21 team in the qualifying campaign for Euro 2025 and the Paris Olympic Games in 2024.
Thierry Henry’s appointment comes after Sylvain Ripoll, his predecessor, was dismissed following France’s underwhelming performance in the Under-21 European Championship, where they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Ukraine.
The French Football Federation (FFF) stated that Henry’s appointment followed a thorough selection process, during which various French coaching profiles were considered. Henry’s impressive playing career, including winning the World Cup and Euros with France, along with his coaching experience, likely played a role in his selection.
Henry’s coaching journey has seen both successes and challenges. He managed Monaco but left after a brief stint, and he also coached MLS side Montreal Impact. He has also been part of Belgium’s coaching staff under Roberto Martinez.
As France’s Under-21 coach, Henry’s first match is scheduled for September 7 in a friendly against Denmark, followed by a Euro 2025 qualifier against Slovenia on September 11. He will also lead the Under-23 team at the 2024 Paris Olympics, which the FFF considers a significant objective. Henry’s expertise, both as a player and a coach, will be put to the test as he guides the young talents of France toward international success.