BRUSSELS, Belgium, Oct 13 – Belgium boss Roberto Martinez on Friday backed his right-hand man Thierry Henry to become “a great coach” when the French World Cup winner takes over at Monaco.
Former Arsenal star Henry became the odds-on favourite to succeed Leonardo Jardim who was sacked in midweek following a string of poor results that left Monaco languishing in 18th in French Ligue 1.
As Henry stood on the touchline during Friday’s Belgium v Switzerland Nations League game in Brussels, the website of L’Equipe said the 1998 World Cup winner “has agreed” to a three-year deal with Monaco.
Henry will “leave Belgium on Saturday to travel to Monaco, where his three-year contract will be officialised”.
The report added: “He will be unveiled to the media on Monday.”
After Belgium beat the Swiss 2-1, Martinez said he was unaware of the reports that Henry was about to leave his role as assistant coach with the national team.
“Thierry Henry’s leaving? You must be better informed than me. I can’t confirm this news but we all know he will leave us one day,” said Martinez.
“Whether it’s Saturday, a week or six months away, we are prepared for it. Thierry has brought all his experience and when he leaves, he will have all our support.
“Thierry has the potential to become a great coach, which he will certainly quickly become.”
Meanwhile, Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku struck twice as Belgium maintained their strong start to the Nations League with a battling win over Switzerland.
When Lukaku found the net with an angled drive on 58 minutes, it looked like Martinez’s men would be giving Thierry Henry a winning send-off in his final match.
The World Cup semi-finalists took their eye off the ball on 76 minutes, and the King Baudoin Stadium was stunned when Mario Gavranovic poked the ball past Thibaut Courtois from close range in after the Real Madrid ‘keeper had been drawn by Nico Elvedi heading Xherdan Shaqiri’s floated cross back into play.
But in a busy final period that saw the hosts turn the throttle Lukaku had his second six minutes from time.
Belgium’s second win of the fledgling tournament keeps them flying high in League A Group 2 following an opening 3-0 win in Iceland.
Fresh from their own 6-0 win over Iceland, Switzerland gave Belgium a run for their money in a fairly balanced opening half in which the hosts mainly flattered to deceive.