Thierry Henry began his tenure as France U21 manager with four victories, including a record-breaking 9-0 victory over Cyprus U21 in October, however, he suffered his first defeat against Austria U21(2-0) and Les Bleuets lost again on Monday night, this time against South Korea.
Les Bleuets’ downturn has coincided with Warren Zaïre-Emery’s departure from the squad. The Paris Saint-Germain midfielder had captained the U21 side before his promotion to the senior set-up. He started and scored for Didier Deschamps’ side against Gibraltar, but suffered an ankle injury that has ruled him out until the end of the calendar year.
‘The result is horrible’ – Henry
However, despite this new crop of French players being touted as potentially another golden generation, there has been a significant drop-off in level during the current international break. “The result is horrible. I told the guys that we were taught a lesson in fighting spirit against Austria and here (against South Korea) we have received a lesson in realism,” said Henry after the latest defeat.
Henry was critical of the defending, particularly the latter two goals conceded, “We can’t allow us to defend like that,” said the former AS Monaco manager, who revealed that he would be picking more senior players in upcoming matches. “There will be the 2001s (in March’s international break). We’ll certainly have a different XI, just like we’ll have a different XI for the Olympic Games. We have to prepare and we’ll see who comes back,” said Henry in a press conference, transcribed by L’Équipe.
With no goals scored during the international break and five goals conceded, Les Bleuets will have to rediscover their autumn form if they are to challenge at the Paris Olympics in the summer of 2024.
GFFN | Luke Entwistle