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Thierry Henry: 'I Believe I Can Be a Successful Coach' After Monaco Sacking

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2019

Monaco's French coach Thierry Henry walks prior to the French L1 football match between Monaco (ASM) and Nice (OGCN) on January 16, 2019 at the Louis II Stadium in Monaco. (Photo by VALERY HACHE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
VALERY HACHE/Getty Images

Thierry Henry's first attempt at being a manager didn't go well, but the former Arsenal and Barcelona striker isn't letting being sacked after three months deter him from wanting to return to a dugout in the near future.

Henry told Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph (h/t Eurosport's Michael Hincks): "Call me crazy if you want, but I love football and I believe I can be a successful coach."

Those are bold words from a man who won just five of 20 matches across all competitions during a brief and ill-fated spell with Monaco that came to an end earlier this year.

Henry was shown the door with the Ligue 1 club languishing in the relegation zone, and the man he replaced, Leonardo Jardim, was hastily welcomed back.

Henry is honest about how things have gone for him so far in his quest to make the grade as a manager, yet he's also defiant about what those early setbacks say about his potential to be a success: "I'm not thinking about the pain, I'm not thinking about failure. I don't like easy. I like to lead, and it's on me to make it happen."

Calling the process an "evolution," Henry likened his journey to the similar challenges of proving himself as a player at Arsenal, then as an assistant coach with the Belgium national team when working with Roberto Martinez.

Even though it's a challenge he's yet to master, the Frenchman noted he hasn't been short of offers: "My phone didn't ring for four months after I left Monaco, and then all of a sudden I got five calls. Some were not what I was looking for and some were as a number two. Very interesting offers, but I can't leave my staff behind."

Henry is clear about where his coaching path must take him next: "I won't do a number two job because I want to be a number one."

Garnering enough of a club's trust to be given another hot seat won't be easy after the way things quickly unravelled in Monaco.

Henry rose to prominence as a young player who graduated from the Monaco academy on the watch of then-manager Arsene Wenger, who would later bring him to north London to join the Gunners.

Squawka Football @Squawka

Happy 42nd birthday to Arsenal's all-time record goalscorer and the only man to score 20+ goals and provide 20+ assists in a single Premier League season. Happy birthday, Thierry Henry. 👑 https://t.co/HzjKHbIGin

However, Henry's experiences building his own squad at the Stade Louis II proved far tougher. He failed to change the team's shape and playing style sufficiently for the better.

Henry's arrival initially helped Monaco attract some big names, notably his former Arsenal teammate Cesc Fabregas. Yet problems relating to other players, as well as the media, served to doom Henry.

BBC Radio 5 live's Julien Laurens told BBC Sport's David Ornstein how Henry banished some senior stars to the reserve squad and argued with certain journalists.

Meanwhile Adam White and Eric Devin of Get French Football News wrote in the Guardian how Henry's "lack of maturity," "negative formations" and "haughty attitude toward the players" were the core reasons for his undoing and eventual dismissal.

The most unsavoury incident of Henry's time in charge came when he apologised after verbally abusing Strasbourg defender Kenny Lala during a 5-1 defeat.

While Henry's tenure was a disappointment, Monaco haven't improved significantly without him, with the club sitting bottom of the French top flight after two games this season.

Jeremy Smith of French Football Weekly cited the work of writer Romain Molina explaining some of the things that went against Henry:

Jeremy Smith @jeremysmith98

@Romain_Molina Re Henry, another great @Romain_Molina vid following Henry's sacking - https://t.co/78R5Xdpy48 Saying that player-wise it was Glik and esp Subasic and Jemerson who did all they could to get rid of Henry and that (contrary to some reports) Falcao didn't have a problem with him.

Jeremy Smith @jeremysmith98

@Romain_Molina Passi also told some players who weren't playing "if I were coach I'd pick you". No coincidence players Henry gave chances to (eg both Badiashiles) played well. So yes, definite Henry faults - but very much undermined and betrayed too.

Finding a better situation is one thing, but fixing issues with communication is also an obvious priority for Henry. So is getting more from talented players. Even though Monaco were beset by injuries, a squad still featuring midfielders as creative as Fabregas and Youri Tielemans rarely played a stylish and expansive game.

Those problems were surprising considering the flair Henry displayed during his playing days. He's also worked with Wenger and Martinez, two of the most faithful adherents to an attacking brand of football.

If Henry gets another chance, the 42-year-old must prove he can bury his ego and relate effectively to different personalities. He'll also need to show an identity as a manager in terms of playing style, one either tied to pragmatism or the excitement of his peak goalscoring days on the pitch.