• Reuters

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Thierry Henry will be an assistant to new Belgium coach Roberto Martinez as the squad start its bid to qualify for the next World Cup finals in Russia.

The former France striker joins Martinez’s former Everton assistant Graeme Jones on the team’s coaching staff after the Spaniard replaced Marc Wilmots as manager of the Euro 2016 quarter-finalists.

“We are here to help really develop the talent we have. We need to support the players. Our contact time with players through the year is limited so we need to make a big impact,” Martinez told reporters on Friday as he announced his squad for his opening two matches.

Belgium has a home friendly against Spain on Thursday and the opening World Cup qualifier in Cyprus on Sept. 6.

“Thierry brings something completely different,” Martinez added.

“He is someone who can develop our chances of winning something special. It was not difficult to persuade him to join this project. Belgium is a unique case and he was keen straight away to get on board.”