Henry came close to walking out on France

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The Independent Football

Thierry Henry says he considered retiring from the international game after France's disappointing performance at Euro 2004.

The 27-year-old believed it was his duty to carry on and support the younger players, however, after Zinedine Zidane, Marcel Desailly, Bixente Lizarazu and Lilian Thuram called time on their international careers.

"I thought about leaving after our disappointing performance at the European championship," Henry said yesterday, ahead of the team's opening World Cup qualifier against Israel in Paris tomorrow. "But it didn't last very long and I brushed aside the idea."

France were knocked out by eventual champions Greece in Portugal, where they had been hoping to defend their European title. "It was my duty towards the young players to be here. There are very gifted ones. It's now up to them to gain experience and to improve themselves," the Arsenal striker added. "But it comes to us, the old ones, to help them out. It's the way it happened for me when I came here for the first time."

Henry, who has 64 caps and has scored 27 international goals, made his debut for France in October 1997.

"It's way behind me," Henry said. "But I don't feel tired. There is a new generation coming up and there is a new squad to build up. I want to be part of this story. France need to get back to winning ways and the sooner the better. We badly need a string of wins now," he said.