Chelsea

FINALLY: Thierry Henry responds to Chelsea blocking two players for France’s Olympics squad

Thierry Henry responds to Chelsea blocking two players for France’s Olympics squad

Thierry Henry maintains that his lack of surprise at Chelsea’s decision to hold off on releasing Malo Gusto or Benoit Badiashile for France’s summer Olympic campaign.

France’s Under-23 coach Henry revealed his initial 25-man Olympic roster on Monday; by July 3, that number will have been reduced to 18.

The former striker for Barcelona and Arsenal acknowledges that he had difficulty selecting his team because a number of Premier League teams would not allow their players to play in the tournament.

Clubs are not required to release their players for the competition this summer, though, as FIFA does not officially recognize the Olympic football competition.

Henry’s team will gather in Clairefontaine on June 16. On July 24, France will play the United States in their Olympic group stage. On July 27, they will play Guinea, and on July 30, they will play New Zealand.

It’s not easy to find yourself in a situation where you have to go to a particular club and ask for permission to be able to take their players, and in reality, you can’t ask for anything because the club has the right to decide not to send anyone because it’s not a FIFA date. After revealing his preliminary team, Henry stated, “When it’s already a FIFA date, it’s hard, so there you go. We’re trying to find ways to have certain players and believe me it’s not easy.”

FINALLY: Thierry Henry responds to Chelsea blocking two players for France’s Olympics squad

Chelsea midfielder Lesley Ugochukwu has made France’s provisional squad (Shutterstock)

While Chelsea has decided to release 20-year-old midfielder Lesley Ugochukwu, a €27 million (£23.2 million) signing from Rennes last summer who made 12 Premier League appearances this season, Bayern Munich forward Mathys Tel is an unexpected addition to France’s squad.

Henry responded, “The club, yes,” when asked if he needed to persuade Tel or Bayern.

“As you can see, Chelsea just gave me Ugochukwu. That’s all there is to it,” The club is in charge, and because Bayern Munich gave me the go-ahead, Mathys Tel is present. I realize it sounds straightforward and uncomplicated, but that is precisely what transpired.

Goalkeepers: Robin Risser (Strasbourg), Obed Nkambadio (Paris FC), Guillaume Restes (Toulouse), and Lucas Chevalier (Lille).

Defendants: Kiliann Sildillia (Freiburg), Adrien Truffert (Rennes), Bradley Locko (Brest), Maxime Esteve (Burnley), Bafode Diakite (Lille), Castello Lukeba (RB Leipzig), Lenny Yoro (Lille)

MIDFIELDERS: Warren Zaire-Emery (PSG), Lesley Ugochukwu (Chelsea), Manu Kone (Borussia Monchengladbach), Khephren Thuram (Nice), Joris Chotard (Montpellier), Desire Doue (Rennes), and Maghnes Akliouche (Monaco).

The attackers are Bradley Barcola (PSG), Michael Olise (Crystal Palace), Arnaud Kalimuendo (Rennes), Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon), Jean-Philippe Mateta (Crystal Palace), and Mathys Tel (Bayern Munich).

Henry said, “Ask them,” in response to the question of why Chelsea released Ugochukwu but not Gusto. I received a “no” response.

I’m not sure if you’ve ever spoken to someone knowing you couldn’t fight back.

You’re questioning me, but Chelsea is not me. I asked questions about players, and I was told, “No, it’s not possible, you can have Ugochukwu.” I know I didn’t say that, but that’s what happened. I can’t answer your questions about the why and how, and I now have a better understanding of the difficulty involved in getting a player to the Euros because it’s not easy to do both.

Henry said, “I will respond to this one very, very clearly – it’s not the time for me to talk about that, first of all,” when asked if he was disappointed by the decisions made by Premier League clubs.

Secondly, am I shocked or disappointed? No. I am not shocked or disappointed; regrettably, the clubs are within their rights, and my opinions have remained largely unchanged since I began writing about the Olympics. We were fully aware that we would be faced with this; you wait for a response in the hopes of hearing back, but if a club declines at any point, they have the right to do so. It gets challenging, so am I shocked or disappointed? No, I wasn’t surprised.

Henry also stated unequivocally that Kylian Mbappe, who is expected to finalize his transfer to Real Madrid this week, had little chance of being included.

Henry remarked, “No, you don’t close the door to anyone, that much is obvious. After the discussions—indeed, there is no discussion at all—it’s just that you come, you ask, you get told, “no,” and you walk out.”

I was in college the last time I experienced this many rejections.

“Those I spoke with were really straightforward.”

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