‘The pre-match speeches are war­like. We are go­ing into bat­tle on the field to­gether’

Favourites Lyon face Bay­ern Mu­nich to­mor­row as the women’s Cham­pi­ons League re­sumes. Aman­dine Henry gives Katie Why­att a unique and ex­clu­sive in­sight into the French side’s dress­ing room

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Football -


I have won the Cham­pi­ons League five times and each time it has a spe­cial flavour. It is like be­ing in an emo­tional el­e­va­tor.

If we do win the Cham­pi­ons League this time, we have ar­rived at our sea­son’s ob­jec­tive.

We want to show that we are con­tin­u­ing to be the best team year af­ter year. It is about build­ing the team and keep­ing that feel­ing of sol­i­dar­ity. The dress­ing room speeches are war­like words. We are go­ing into a bat­tle on the field to­gether. A few of us will speak.

We try to speak French as much as we can, but if there is a sit­u­a­tion where some play­ers can­not un­der­stand or grasp some­thing, English comes in.

The cap­tain, Wendie Re­nard, al­ways has a word be­fore we go out, and maybe the ex­pe­ri­enced lead­ers will too – play­ers such as goal­keeper Sarah Bouhaddi and mid­fielder Eu­ge­nie Le Som­mer.

Ada Hegerberg likes peo­ple around her and com­mu­ni­cates in the dress­ing room, al­though she is cur­rently in­jured. Lots of us can do that, and it de­pends on what each sit­u­a­tion demands.

We talk through last-minute de­tails on free-kicks and dead balls, and make sure every­one un­der­stands what they need to do.

The mu­sic

We al­ways have sounds go­ing in the dress­ing room. We have a good mix of mu­sic be­cause there are lots of dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­i­ties. We tend to take turns: Lucy Bronze and Re­nard put mu­sic on, and some­times it’s me. We’ll of­ten have rap mu­sic, and Bronze’s Spo­tify playlist has things like Avicii and Sigma. The big one cur­rently is Jerusalema by Mas­ter KG – there’s a dance that goes with it – but it de­pends on the mood.

PLAY­ERS TO WATCH Dzsenifer Marozsan, mid­fielder

I would quite sim­ply say she is the best women’s foot­baller in the world in terms of tech­nique and skill. She is strong, has great vi­sion and she is un­selfish. She’s a top, top player. Off the field, she is very open and friendly.

She’s re­ally hum­ble, down to earth and is al­ways think­ing of other peo­ple. She’s very gen­er­ous in spirit in that she’s such a great player that she could be some­one who spends a lot of time in her own world, in her own space – but she’s the op­po­site. She’s gen­er­ous with her time, too. If some­one is down in the dress­ing room, she takes time to speak with them.

Lucy Bronze, de­fender

She’s unique in the women’s game: she’s prob­a­bly the first fe­male full­back to cover so much ground. It’s a kind of model you’ve seen in the men’s game, with play­ers in the past like Dani Alves and Marcelo. It’s a po­si­tion that has evolved in the men’s game and is prob­a­bly about to do so in the women’s.

Off the field, she’s re­ally down to earth and has a good head on her shoul­ders. In train­ing, she is 100 per cent, she goes all out all the time. She’s very pow­er­ful and has huge lev­els of en­durance.

Nikita Par­ris, for­ward

As for her English, her ac­cent, I’ve just given up – I don’t un­der­stand a word, un­for­tu­nately. The set­tlin­gin process is go­ing re­ally well: she’s un­der­stand­ing what it means to play for Lyon and she’s play­ing more games.

She likes to laugh and joke around, and she is quite out­go­ing, but mainly with the lit­tle group of play­ers she knows very, very well. She doesn’t like to take cen­tre stage.

Saki Ku­ma­gai, mid­fielder

She’s very quiet, very re­spect­ful. Maybe that is a cul­tural trait of her Ja­panese na­tion­al­ity, but she re­ally, re­ally works hard.

Maybe that goes un­no­ticed a bit, and she’s in the shad­ows of some of the other play­ers – purely and sim­ply be­cause of the role and the po­si­tion she plays. But she’s rig­or­ous in ev­ery­thing she does.


It is very open-style man­age­ment. Every­one has the chance to ex­press them­selves, and if they’ve got some­thing on their mind, they can go and talk freely with the board, the own­ers and the man­agers of the club. The train­ing that the coach, Jean-Luc Vasseur, pre­pares us for dur­ing the week is al­ways tai­lored to­wards the op­po­nent that week­end. He will take us on one side as in­di­vid­ual play­ers from time to time, and he’ll of­fer ad­vice.

He might say, “I’d like it if you could move in a cer­tain way.” He’ll show us videos on that. Group and in­di­vid­u­ally, he’ll pre­pare.

The cap­tain Re­nard is very strict, but that’s down to her ul­ti­mate pro­fes­sion­al­ism. But we also main­tain a strict regime our­selves.

We know what it’s all about to have a strict diet, to re­hy­drate af­ter train­ing, to be on time, to speak in a cor­rect man­ner.

We’re very self-dis­ci­plined. For­tu­nately, we do have a life out­side the game, and it’s not all eat, sleep, foot­ball. I per­son­ally like to have that way of switch­ing off.

I like go­ing out walk­ing. It de­pends on the in­di­vid­ual, but we all have our lives off the field.

Nike is an of­fi­cial part­ner of Uefa Women’s Foot­ball and the match ball sup­plier for the Women’s Cham­pi­ons League. For more in­for­ma­tion visit nike.com

Pedi­gree: Aman­dine Henry is go­ing for a sixth Cham­pi­ons League ti­tle

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