Thierry Henry is one of the most decorated footballers on earth but he insists he’s taken lots from the Welsh coaches he’s learned alongside.
The World Cup winner says his experience on the UEFA Pro Licence broadened his understanding of the game.
On completion of his FAW UEFA Pro Licence badge, the Belgium assistant manager said: "The course has had a massive impact on my coaching career.
"It's taken me out of my comfort zone but, within the rules, I've been given the opportunity to fly and express myself.
"It's been very challenging, in a good way, and it's encouraged me to open my mind."
“It doesn’t matter where you’re coaching or what type of players you have, you always have to go through adversity.”
And that’s why Henry not only considers the jobs two of his classmates and friends Mike Flynn and Colin Caton have done are an inspiration to him and others.
Flynn kept his native Newport County in the Football League from a seemingly impossible position before taking them on an unlikely FA Cup run while Caton’s Bala Town won the Welsh Cup against a record breaking TNS team aiming for a historic triple treble.
On Flynn’s achievement, the former Arsenal and Barcelona star said: “He is the big man. He made the impossible possible.
“In all fairness, I didn’t think that it could be done. I thought it was going to be a difficult one in the situation they were in – 11 points with 12 games to go.
“But he made it happen. I don’t care if it’s League Two, it is a remarkable achievement and he made it happen.
“He did it his way, he has a certain view about what he wants and he’s obviously close to the club – he played there and finished there and now he’s managing there.
“And it was magical because he had to deal with what he had at the time and find a way to make those guys go on a mission.
“And they went on a mission with a good general.
“But a general needs soldiers and he executed it well and the guys responded.”
The Sky Pundit, who now works alongside fellow FAW Coach Education student Roberto Martinez in the Belgium setup, reserved similar praise for Caton and his team’s achievement.
He said: “I've learned a lot from his resilience.
“It's almost known here that when you start the league TNS are going to win it, so how do you pick yourself up every year?
“How do you pick your players up?“Every time he says hey, we can beat
them, but they don't. Then finally, they get the opportunity and they did it.
“Colin got his reward in the Welsh Cup final.
“He didn't give up and, even though people thought they were never going to win it, they did.”
But Caton admits learning alongside the likes of Henry, Marcel Desailly, Didi Hamman and Craig Bellamy has really helped him develop his career.
He said: “Thierry Henry was a pleasure to work with. Such a gentleman.
“Just to rub shoulders with them and be part of the Welsh coaching structure is fantastic.
“The Pro Licence was phenomenal. I learned so much and formed a great bond with some of the biggest names in the game.
“They’re interested in how I do things and they’ve taught me so much.”
Flynn spoke equally highly of Henry and the other big names he’s learned alongside.
He said: “Getting the chance to do my coaching badges alongside the likes of Thierry Henry and Mikel Arteta has been priceless.
“I didn’t get the chance to play at their level but I learned so much from them as a coach.”
“The beauty of the course though is nobody’s better than anybody else. We’re a working family.
“I’ve made some very good friends on the FAW coaching courses and we’ve all learned from each other.”Find out more about our world-class coaching courses