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Thierry Henry says Pep Guardiola 'the reference' for his first managerial role

Thierry Henry was a superstar striker who played for some of the world's biggest clubs and the greatest mana...

Posted: Oct. 18, 2018 11:58 AM
Updated: Oct. 18, 2018 11:58 AM

Thierry Henry was a superstar striker who played for some of the world's biggest clubs and the greatest managers of recent times.

On Saturday, the Frenchman will make his managerial bow as he takes charge of Monaco for the first time. As he prepares for life in the dugout the 41-year-old says he will try to emulate Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

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Henry, a World Cup winner with France in 1998, said he "re-learned how to play the game" under Guardiola during his time at Barcelona from 2008 to 2010.

The Barcelona side Guardiola built is widely regarded as one of the finest in history, winning 14 trophies in four years from 2008 to 2012, and the former Spain international's managerial success has continued since his departure from the Nou Camp, securing Bundesliga titles for Bayern Munich and the English Premier League for City.

Speaking at his first press conference since replacing the sacked Leonardo Jardim last week, Henry told reporters: "Pep is the reference, for me, I'm not saying for everyone.

"There's no right or wrong; that's the reference for me. We learned how to play the game when I went to Barcelona under him. With Pep you can talk about the game; he will not even go to sleep and will still talk about the game. You will fall asleep and he's still talking.

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"The invention he had in the game; he's well ahead of the game, I saw it closely. You learn from people. They inspire you. But you also need to put your own little mix in it.

"Talking about the managers that I had I learned with a lot of them, every single one of them. Whether they challenged me, whether sometimes they were doing the wrong stuff. That's when you learn the most -- when things are not going well."

Henry, France's record goalscorer, lit up the English Premier League during his time at Arsenal from 1999 to 2007, becoming the club's record goalscorer with 174 goals in 254 appearances.

When asked about Arsene Wenger, the man who transformed Henry into one of Europe's most feared strikers, he added: "Arsene unlocked a lot of stuff in my mind, made me understand what it was to be a professional, what it was to perform.

"I will never forget that. You know the relationship I had with him so I will always carry some of the stuff that he was doing."

Monaco is currently 18th in Ligue 1 with just one win in the league and two defeats in the Champions League so far this season.

Under coach Leonardo Jardim, the side won its first domestic title in 17 years, showcasing an attacking, high-scoring brand of football.

Henry has won every major honor as a player but for all his success in England and Spain, he said he chose to begin his managerial career in Monaco, the club where his career started, because the Principality side was close to his heart.

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"When the offer came it was quite logical; my heart talked," he said.

"You know the connection I have with one club in London, but this is where I started. This club will always have a big place in my heart.

"So to be able to come here and start here again is a dream come true, I won't lie. There's a lot of work to do, as you can imagine, but I'm more than happy to be here."

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