What to expect from Thierry Henry as a manager?
Thierry Henry officially began as a first-team manager when taking charge of Monaco away at Strasbourg on Saturday. It's the Frenchman's responsibility to guide his new side away from the relegation zone. Les Monegasques currently sit 19th in Ligue 1, four points off safety. They've recorded just one win in ten games, despite possessing talent such as Aleksandar Golovin and Radamel Falcao.
Monaco is a very good place for Henry to start in management. The former Arsenal striker began his playing career at the Stade Louis II in 1994, staying for four-and-a-half years before joining Juventus. With the principality team struggling at present, his main target is to avoid the drop. Sparking a revival shouldn't be too difficult.
Despite losing his first encounter 2-1 to Strasbourg, Henry realises he'll be afforded the time to get things right. Performance at a perceived mid-table side, one with a considerably low budget which is reliant on bringing through youth, will go some way to how far up the managerial ladder he can travel. His prefered playing style and philosophy is unlikely to take effect for another few weeks, but once it does, the 41-year-old will be judged fairly.
Interestingly, Henry stated his plans to shape Monaco in the 'Pep Guardiola way'. This is a good approach to the game, as it enables teams to dominate possession and attack at will. However, what Thierry has failed to acknowledge is that Guardiola enforces such a system due to the luxury of talent at his disposal. Les Monegasques are nowhere near competing with either Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Manchester City financially.
Guardiola can churn out huge amounts in search of success. Monaco, meanwhile, will expect Henry to rely on his technical ability to secure a decent Ligue 1 position. Splashing the cash isn't an option.
Two seasons ago, the Rogues et Blancs won the league title under Leonardo Jardim. Kylian Mbappe, Thomas Lemar, Bernardo Silva, Benjamin Mendy and Falcao all played key roles. Each was either homegrown or arrived for a paltry fee. Henry must now attempt to follow suit. Failure to reach such heights will be understandable, yet he is expected to at least keep close tabs on the top position. Then, if there is a slip from Paris Saint-Germain, the Les Ulis-born coach must fully capitalise.
Two things will play a major factor in Henry's stake to claim as a manager destined for greatness: how he copes with operating on Monaco's small budget and his ability to find the team's best playing style. Fans identify every top coach with a specific system. Without such an attractive modus operandi, even winning managers can lose their jobs. Tony Pulis and Sam Allardyce are both obvious examples.
Monaco is definitely a stepping stone in Thierry Henry's managerial career. After this first leap, the ultimate will be to oversee at either the Emirates or Camp Nou. All he must do is excel in France and the offers will come rolling in.