Thierry Henry is rejoining Belgium’s coaching staff for the European Championship where he will serve again as one of coach Roberto Martinez’s assistants, the Belgian football association said on Sunday (May 30). Henry, 43, worked on Martinez’s staff from mid-2016 until just after the World Cup in Russia, where Belgium finished third.
The former World cup winner then went to Monaco as coach and later to Montreal Impact in Major League Soccer before returning to working as a television pundit in Britain. “We are delighted that Thierry can join us for the Euros,” a statement quoted Martinez as saying.
“His tournament experience and international football know-how is great added value to our staff. Thierry knows almost every player and staff member and it feels only natural that we can carry on the story started in the qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup and its bronze-medal conclusion.”
“It’s an honour and privilege to be called to help Roberto and the rest of the staff for the upcoming European Championship,” former France international Henry said. “It’s a continuation of an unfinished story and we will give everything for a successful outcome.”
Belgian are drawn in Group B with Denmark, Finland and Russia.
Karim Benzema looking to move on from France exile
Five years after an exile from the France national team, Karim Benzema said he is looking to put the past behind him and his only focus is on leading the line for Didier Deschamps’ side at next month’s European Championship.
Benzema, who has scored 30 goals in all competitions for Real Madrid this season, has not played for France since 2015 after a blackmailing scandal over which he faces a trial in October. The 33-year-old also said in 2016 that Deschamps had ‘bowed to the pressure of a racist part of France’ when leaving the forward out of the Euro squad that year but got a surprise call-up for the Euros which begin on June 11.
“What happened has happened. There are always regrets, we cannot turn back, we can just change from the past,” Benzema, who has 27 goals in 81 games for France, told reporters on Sunday (May 30).
“The most important thing is what happens on the ground… Now I’m focused on the game and trying to show the best on the pitch.”
Benzema will team up with 22-year-old Kylian Mbappe who led France to the World Cup title in 2018 and the striker praised his younger team mate. “I do not like to compare, (Mbappe) is still a young player, a phenomenon,” Benzema said.
“I have already been able to train with him. We play with one touch, he has good movement, he has a lot of speed and has skill in front of goal. He’s a very, very good player.”
France, who finished runners-up in 2016, are in Group F along with holders Portugal, Hungary, and Germany. They play their first match against Germany in Munich on June 15.