Henchoz eyes England return

Stephane Henchoz may have graced the highest stage with Liverpool during his playing career but he told TheFA.com that he wants to reach similar heights as a manager.

The former Switzerland international, who won The FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Cup and European Super Cup during his time at Anfield, is at St. George’s Park this week as he completes his Pro Licence badge.

And as he nears its completion, Henchoz says he has his eyes firmly set on returning to work in the country he considers to be his second home.

“Of course I would like to work in England,” he said. “But it is a matter of opportunity and I think in coaching, in terms of being a manger in the game, the contacts you have are really important.

“You have to start somewhere and I am realistic enough to know that I won’t get to manage a big club or even a Championship club first of.

Henchoz in action for Liverpool

Henchoz in action for Liverpool

“I know you have to start somewhere as a coach or assistant manager to learn the trade first.”

Since his retirement in 2008, Henchoz – who was capped 72 times at international level – has been coaching in his home country, but aims to return to the nation that he describes as “football crazy”.

“I am doing some coaching in Switzerland now,” he said. “We will see what happens but eventually I would like the opportunity to go somewhere else and move abroad again.

“It is always difficult when you experience football at the highest level and then come back to a country where football is not as big.

“The football culture is not great and I find it difficult to exchange with people talking football. It is difficult to talk football with people who have never seen something else. For them Swiss football is all they have known. They don’t understand what is top football – it is very frustrating.”

He added: “I have got my own philosophy about how I want my teams to play football that is for sure.

“I would like to have the right working environment which is always very important. It is not always easy though.”

Having played at the highest level throughout his career, Henchoz revealed he has learnt a lot from listening to the other candidates on the Pro Licence course – citing the shared experiences of others as one of the key things he will take away with him.

“When we are on the course it is great to speak in between the hours in the class room and in the evening. You get to speak to different people who are coaching or a manager in a lower league. You realise that everybody has had problems, but it is not the same problem.”

Henchoz continued: “When you are at the top level you don’t really have financial problem that some clubs in League Two have. You don’t have the same tools at your disposal in League Two. You don’t have the scouts, you don’t have the analysts and people like that. The training ground is not as good and obviously when you are in a top club in the Premier League or the Championship and you have got all these things you just thought were normal.”

Henchoz in action for Wigan Athletic

Henchoz also played for Wigan Athletic

This week will bring to an end a long journey of learning and progression for Henchoz – but he says the UEFA Pro Licence has given him everything he could need to begin his managerial career.

“I was very happy to be able to be on the course first of all. It was something wanted to do in order to learn so I started with the C level maybe seven years ago.

“It has been really good and a lot of subjects made me think things I never thought before. You do your things without thinking on different skills that would improve you. 

“Now, having done this course over the last 18 months, a lot of subjects made me realise that I actually never ask myself the question of ‘How do I deliver a team meeting before a game’ or ‘Does my message come across as well as I would like?’.

“It’s the same with the media. You realise that what you say can be interpreted differently because the media are looking for something different than just football.”

He concluded: “It has been a logical progression in terms of knowledge and having played the game I think you know football quite a lot as a player. This course is very different as you don’t really go on the pitch but you learn the skills to be a manager and to get the message across.”