Gerard Houllier: Thierry Henry pays tribute to former manager’s legacy in French football | Football News
Thierry Henry has paid a glowing tribute to “mentor” Gerard Houllier’s impact in nurturing talent in French football.
Houllier, who died on Monday, aged 73, worked as coach for the France youth ranks during the early years of Henry’s career while at first club Monaco.
Henry would later be part of France’s first World Cup-winning side in 1998, at which Houllier would be an assistant to the manager Aime Jacquet.
“Devastated to hear the news about the passing of Gerard Houllier,” Henry said.
“He was more than just a coach to me. He was a mentor too.
“He gave me the armband for the France U17, U18 and U19 teams and we won the European Championship on the way to the U20 World Cup together.”
He added: “What a man and what a coach. It is a sad day for French football.”
Houllier oversaw the progress of other French youngsters, including Nicolas Anelka and David Trezeguet, at the Clairefontaine national football centre.
He guided the U18s to the European Championship title in 1996.
“He saw something in me, not only me, but he saw something in me in the national team at a young age and he trusted me to be the captain of that generation and we went on to be successful,” Henry said. “It is a tough one.”
Houllier, who is best remembered in England for his success as Liverpool manager between 1998-2004, later served briefly as sporting director at New York Red Bulls, where Henry finished his playing career.
“He was so knowledgeable and helpful to all those around him,” Montreal Impact manager Henry said.