Thierry Henry named as Assistant to Roberto Martinez with Belgium

Thierry Henry; Football

Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry has been named as an assistant to new Belgium coach Roberto Martinez.

Henry, a member of France’s 1998 World Cup winning team, will be part of the backroom staff alongside Graeme Jones, who was Martinez’s assistant at Swansea, Wigan and Everton.

The announcement was made as Martinez named his first senior squad since taking the Belgium job after Euro 2016.

“Thierry brings something completely different,” Martinez said in a press conference.

“He’s someone who has been in the situation of having to develop a mentality in a team of chasing the dream of winning something special for his country, he did that in 1996 leading up to 1998.

“He is very much an important figure in our staff in terms of being able to pass on his experience to the players.”

Belgium boast one of the most talented squads in world football, but suffered disappointment at Euro 2016 as they were knocked out by Wales in the quarter-finals.

With 20 of the 23-man Euro 2016 squad retained by Martinez for his first squad, it is clear the “fresh start” he wants to make will come primarily from the coaching staff – with Henry set to have a key role.

“The attacking quality that we have in our group is very rich,” Martinez added. “Thierry Henry’s experience of being able to go through that situation that we have as a team is going to be very important. Then when you go into the basics of simple attacking drills, as player you can get a lot from it. It’s important we have that affect on the players as much as we can.

“That’s going to be a big role from Thierry’s point of view.”

Henry, capped 123 times by France, has been working as a television pundit since ending his playing career with the New York Red Bulls in 2014.

The former Monaco and Barcelona striker also spent time working at Arsenal’s academy while gaining his UEFA ‘A’ licence, but last month turned down the opportunity to coach the club’s Under-18 side.

Henry wrote on Twitter: “Honoured to be assistant coach @BelRedDevils. Thanks to Roberto Martinez & the Royal Belgian Football Association. Very excited. Can’t wait.”

Martinez named his first Belgium squad ahead of the friendly against Spain on September 1 and the opening World Cup qualifier against Cyprus on September 6.

Star names Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne are included along with Everton pair Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas, who worked with Martinez last season.

New Burnley signing Steven Defour returns, having not featured for the national team since last November, while Hazard’s younger brother Thorgan will have a chance to add to his sole cap.

It was also announced that fitness coach Richard Evans, who like Jones followed Martinez from Swansea to Everton via Wigan, would take up a similar role with the national team.

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