Thierry Henry in the role of manager is an intriguing endeavor.
The “star player becomes the star instructor” is a tall ask across many sports. For every Pep Guardiola or even Zinedine Zidane, there’s a boatload of Ruud Gullits and Diego Maradonas (Well there’s really only one Maradona, but we digress).
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Henry, by all accounts and the proverbial smell test, seems the kind of mind who can make it happen for himself. The new AS Monaco boss helped Roberto Martinez organize Belgium to a strong World Cup run, and has been selective about his first coaching opportunity.
And, hey, he served as a pretty decent mentor for Alex Hunter in FIFA 18.
Now he takes over a Monaco team with nowhere to go but up, and that hasn’t happened too often in the club’s celebrated history (though Monaco was relegated to Ligue 2 for two seasons from 2011-13).
Taking his first prematch media day ahead of Monaco’s trip to Strasbourg, Henry pointed to two of his managers as guides on his way: Pep Guardiola and Arsene Wenger.
To be fair, Henry’s praise for Guardiola was much loftier considering he arrived at Barcelona after playing for Wenger at Arsenal:
“Pep is the reference, for me,” said Henry. “The invention he had in the game; he’s well ahead of the game. … We learnt how to play the game when I went to Barcelona under him. With Pep you can talk about the game; he will not even go to sleep and will still talk about the game, you will fall asleep and he’s still talking.”
Henry credits Wenger with awakening the professional inside of him.
“Arsene unlocked a lot of stuff in my mind, made me understand what it was to be a professional, what it was to perform,” Henry said.
A lot of managers look to Guardiola and Wenger as examples, but Henry played for both. Considering the two are likely still in his list of contacts, this can only bode well for 18th place Monaco as it looks to embark on a run up the Ligue 1 table and its Champions League group table.