The story that Ralf Rangnick was ready to make Thierry Henry a national team assistant coach is no longer the weirdest TH14 tale of the summer. Now, Thierry Henry is a national team assistant coach.
Honoured to be assistant coach @BelRedDevils. Thanks to Roberto Martinez & the Royal Belgian Football Association. Very excited.Can't wait.— Thierry Henry (@ThierryHenry) August 26, 2016
Roberto Martinez has made Henry part of the Belgian men's national team's coaching staff, taking a page out of the playbook reportedly proposed to the Belgian FA by Ralf Rangnick.
Martinez, of course, is more than capable of identifying Henry's qualities himself. As is the Royal Belgian Football Association. The appointment is surprising because Henry has accumulated relatively little coaching experience since retiring as a player. He has a well-compensated broadcasting job in the UK, and that was said to be the reason he was recently prevented from continuing to coach in Arsenal's youth system.
But coaching clubs is different from coaching national teams. As noted by RMC Sport, while Henry's work for Sky Sports might prevent him from coming in to training every day at a club, it does mean he is watching soccer every day. Mostly, he is watching the English Premier League, which happens to be where the majority of Belgium's top players are currently based.
A key part of his role will be to get the best out of the Red Devils' attacking players. Players like Crystal Palace's Christian Benteke, who is known to admire Henry.
Two of Belgium's strikers were massive Thierry Henry fans when they were younger: Christian Benteke and Michy Batshuayi.— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) August 26, 2016
So Henry will keep his job with Sky, ensuring he is seeing a lot of Belgian players in action every week.
Thierry Henry will stay in his role as a Sky pundit after he joined the Belgium national team.— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) August 26, 2016
The New York Red Bulls (and Arsenal; and France) legend won't have to wait long to get started in his new role. Belgium plays Spain in a friendly on September 1, and starts its 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign against Cyprus on September 6.