Henry hoping SheBelieves can be launching point for France

Harjeet Johal February 28, 2017 11
Amandine Henry with France at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia (photo copyright Harjeet Johal for The Equalizer)

Amandine Henry with France at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia (photo copyright Harjeet Johal for The Equalizer)

PHILADELPHIA, PA – The SheBelieves Cup is about to get going Wednesday with France vs England in the opening match at Talen Energy Stadium, in Chester, Pennsylvania. U.S. Soccer fans will recognize a familiar player on the pitch. France midfielder, Amandine Henry will be in action for Les Blues as they hope to kickoff the tournament with a win.

A lot has transpired since France shockingly exited the 2016 Rio Olympics at the quarterfinal stage in a 1-0 loss to Canada. The dynamic Louisa Nécib Cadamuro has retired and manager Philippe Bergeroo was sent packing, and replaced by Olivier Echouafni. A change was due, and players like Henry, have already noticed a much better positive relationship.

“There is not really a big difference,” said Henry through a translator. “Maybe, if I have to choose one, it’s that he tries to develop our game, trusts us, and makes it so we are of interest.”

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France, ranked no. 3 by FIFA, has always been a side with great expectations, and equally large disappointments. A team with fantastic technical skills, ball control, and roster depth should be winning medals and lifting trophies with regularity, but that’s not been the case. Getting results at the SheBelieves Cup will help France prepare and gain confidence heading into the 2017 European Championships in Holland this summer.

“We know that there is a great expectation about us,” admitted Henry. “We hope that the SheBelieves Cup can help us to find our level between all the three important teams.”

To try and help improve her own personal goals, Henry made the switch from Feminine Division 1 to Portland Thorns FC last March. She wants to better hone her talents, and compete at the same physical level that we often see from American and Canadian players. It’s a work in progress that has Henry feeling more and more comfortable everyday.

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“I don’t know if I’ve had enough time to improve my game compared to them,” said Henry. “Now that I know them, I’m not a lot afraid anymore, to play against them. I know that they’re playing like me, training like me, the same thing as them.”

The 27 year-old will return to Portland this summer, following her loan spell with Paris Saint-Germain, and the Euro’s. She’s clearly not the type to sit ideal during the winter months. When a loan opportunity with PSG came up, she knew it was what she wanted to do to help prepare for the Euro’s, and the NWSL campaign with Portland.

“I missed football,” revealed Henry, “It was a great thing for me to play for PSG during the six months. I needed to find out my (football) sensation, my position on the pitch, and technical suggestions. Now it’s good, because I’m ready to go back to Portland.”

The She BelievesCup is all about bringing together the top teams in the world. Having the chance to play Amandine Henry and France is a great test for England, Germany, and the U.S. It’s also a unique occasion for fans to watch some of the best footballers on the planet.

  • DNG

    Henry is one of the very best center midfielders in the world. She’s a joy to watch. Can’t wait to see her play in the NWSL again this year.

    • Steglitz49

      You may have to wait a long time, though.

  • wosofan

    Time to watch Henry shred Allie Long with long ball after long ball over her head. I can’t wait.

    • dw

      This assumes that Long as CB survives until the 3rd game…

  • Rdalford

    ” … will return to Portland this summer, following her loan spell with Paris Saint-Germain, and the Euro’s. ”

    FIFA calendar break for UEFA Women’s Euro does not end until 6th of August so Henry will only have a few weeks at end of the 2017 NWSL season with Portland. Does Henry’s deal with PSG keep her in Europe thru end of French D1 in June – or – does Henry plan on returning to Portland for initial part (April/May) of NWSL season?

    • Steglitz49

      I suspect the deal relates to the ladies Champions League, the final of which is on June 1st. If PSG get knocked out before that, maybe Amandine will be back in Portland sooner.

      Provided Amandine is selected for France, she will be away for the window of Euro-17. In the case of the Euros, the window ends the day after you are knocked out.

    • tonysocref

      Conflicting reports on when she will join the Thorns. Coach for PSG stated that the loan was for 6 months but no start date was given on the loan.
      Reports by the press here in Portland indicated that she would be here before the season starts.

      • Steglitz49

        PSG play Bayern Munich on March 23 & 29 in the ladies Champions League QF. The SF is on April 22-23 and 29-30, when the team that goes through will face either Barcelona or Rosengård. The final, as I typed elsewhere, is on June 1st.

        I doubt that a PR-conscious outfit like Portland would want to stand in Amandine’s way and the reflected glory from Amandine winning the Champions League with PSG must not be disdained.

  • Tom F

    Considering Germany’s severe injury problems & Coach Sampson of England not getting along with some of his top players, look for France to be the US toughest match up. Judging from their last couple of friendlies, they player a much faster, direct style of play these days. But can they the us with our own game, that’s the question? Look our for their former FB, Majri, now she’s moved up to Necib’s old spot(L-mid) and she might just be better at it, but misses the rather accurate shot selections of Luoisa

    • AlexH

      Yes, France finally realized that passing the ball sideways and calling it beautiful isn’t how you win games. The game they played against us could have gone either way so I think they do have the ability to beat the WNT, especially if Jill is running the show.

      • Steglitz49

        The proof of the pudding is in the eating thereof.