Thierry Henry's list for the Olympic Games: “We will try to find ways to have players, but believe me, it's not easy”

Thierry Henry's list for the Olympic Games: "We will try to find ways to have players, but believe me, it's not easy"

Thierry Henry a annoncé une pré-sélection pour les Jeux Olympiques de Paris. EPA – CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

Presence of Bradely Barcola and Warren Zaire-Emery, absence of Kylian Mbappé, Thierry Henry, who unveiled on Monday a pre-list of 25 players expected to compete in the Olympic Games tournament (July 24-August 9) , explains his choices.

This pre-list includes players from Lille and two from PSG, clubs which have not yet given their approval to release them. What items did you receive to select ?

There will definitely be discussions. We met all the presidents of the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs on December 15 by videoconference. We presented the Olympics and the training camps. We talked with everyone. There was a small problem, the famous three weeks of vacation to be able to recover. We agreed to remove one (for preparation). This was the only constraint at club level. They understood the situation, I stayed there.

Why did you only include two players over 23 (Alexandre Lacazette and Jean-Philippe Mateta), out of the three authorized?

We received two "no", twenty-five minutes ago, just before going down (at a press conference). But there will be three players over 23 in the final list, that's for sure. It’s not easy to find yourself in the situation of asking certain foreign clubs to let their players. They are within their rights, it is not a FIFA date. We will try to find ways to get players, but believe me, it's not easy.

How do you hope to integrate Warren Zaire-Emery and Bradley Barcola, already selected with the A's for the Euro ?

This is not the list yet, we will have to discuss. Warren is a special case. He is also in the process of passing his baccalaureate. We will try to have the best possible team. We're going to have to have a good discussion, because we're talking about the integrity of a player. But on the other hand, when we look at the situation, with a group of 18 players plus four substitutes to train, for matches to be played in the heat, we add players in the other categories. I am well aware of Warren and Barco's situations, and others as well. We give ourselves a certain chance of having the best possible team.

How do you explain the absence of Rayan Cherki ?

The environment is simply provided. It’s open for everyone. But there's something funny: it doesn't bother you that there isn't (Malo) Gusto or (Benoît) Badiashile? That's when even important. On a tactical level, how to manage the situation without guys of your generation? It's not always easy.

"Everything is open for everyone"

Have you definitively drawn a line on the presence of Kylian Mbappé ?

No, we are still hopeful. We don't know what will happen until July 3. I had to give a real list. Be a little more in the truth of the moment, even if everything is open for everyone. You don't close the door to anyone, except that there are no discussions. You come, you ask, they tell you no and you leave. The last time I took this many rejections, I was in middle school.

Are you disappointed or annoyed by this situation ?

No. The clubs are within their rights, my speech has not changed. There wasn’not even a speech, you wait for a response hoping that… It definitely gets difficult. I expected it somewhere, I would have been more surprised the other way around. People respect the rules, that would be known if human beings respected something else.

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