Paris 2024 Football: Thierry Henry reveals his first Olympic squad

Paris 2024 kicks off tomorrow. This Thursday, Thierry Henry, coach of the French Olympic team, will unveil his squad for the friendly matches against Ivory Coast and the United States. This will provide clues about his intentions for the Olympics. Henry will select players born after 2001 (U23) and will spend the next four months getting to know his team on and off the field, with the ultimate goal set for August 9th, the day of the Olympic tournament final that the French team aims to win on home soil.

The journey for Henry’s France begins with matches against Ivory Coast on March 22nd and the United States on March 25th. The upcoming gathering at Clairefontaine is the only opportunity for Henry to work with his players before announcing his final squad for the Olympics in mid-May, consisting of 18 players and four reserves. This announcement will come after Didier Deschamps reveals his squad for Euro 2024 in Germany, allowing Henry time to make adjustments based on the players selected for the senior team.

Despite starting preparations for the Olympics in February, Henry submitted a list of around 100 players to the IOC who could potentially be called up for the tournament, which he will narrow down to 50 names in May. One interesting aspect is the inclusion of players over 23 years old, as Henry can select up to three of them for his squad. Speculation surrounds the presence of Kylian Mbappé, Antoine Griezmann, and Olivier Giroud, with Mbappé’s spot becoming increasingly uncertain.

Other candidates like Dimitri Payet, who is experiencing a career resurgence in Brazil at 36 years old, have also put themselves forward. If selected, all players must secure approval from their clubs, in both France and abroad, to be released for the tournament that is not on FIFA’s official calendar. Henry, who has been in discussions with relevant clubs for weeks, will now focus on building his squad and temporarily pause negotiations.

Henry will construct his squad around a core group of players born in 2002 and 2003, selected during the Euro-2025 U21 qualifiers late last year, as well as those born in 2001 who featured in the last Euro in June 2023. Players like Lucas Chevalier, Bafodé Diakité, Manu Koné, Khephren Thuram, Castello Lukeba, and Lenny Yoro are likely contenders for Henry’s squad.

If he can’t secure his three over-age stars, offensive players such as Bradley Barcola, Arnaud Kalimuendo, Elye Wahi, and Mathys Tel could step up. Players like Warren Zaïre-Emery, William Saliba, and Eduardo Camavinga, who are eligible for the Olympics but involved in the senior team, may not make the cut on Thursday. Despite their chances at the Euro, they could still be part of the Olympic adventure.

With preparation and negotiations ongoing, Henry will soon have answers to the questions he faces before the Games. He will regroup with his players in mid-June to kick off tournament preparations, and by early July, he must finalize his squad for submission to the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF). The stage will be set for the Games.

Leave a Reply