World Cup winner Thierry Henry says Newport County will make progress in League Two after their Great Escape last season.
French ace Henry is a close pal of County manager Michael Flynn after they met at the Uefa Pro Licence coaching course run by the Football Association of Wales in Newport.
The former Arsenal striker is full of admiration for the job Flynn did in leading Newport to safety after they had looked doomed to relegation.
“It was amazing that Newport made up an 11 points deficit with 12 games to go,” says Henry. “Amazing. It’s still unbelievable for me and people will remember what he achieved.
“Newport need to build from that and I’m sure he’s going to try to make it his way and his style with his players.
“First he had to secure their position in the Football League. He did it and now he can go forward.”
Henry was speaking at the FAW National Coaches Conference at Celtic Manor, reflecting on Newport’s achievement in winning seven out of 12 games to stay up.
“He is the big man,” said Henry. “He made the impossible possible. I didn’t think that it could be done.
“We were in contact through a few texts and you send your regards and say ‘all the best’ but I thought it was going to be a difficult one in the situation they were in – 11 points with 12 games to go.
“He made it happen. I don’t care if it’s League Two, it is a remarkable achievement and he made it happen.
“Michael did it his way, he has a certain view about what he wants and is close to the club – he played there, finished his career there and now he’s managing there.
“He had to find a way to make those guys go on a mission and they went on a mission with a good general.
“Michael analysed the situation well of what was needed at that particular moment and the guys responded well.”
With 16 players already signed up for next season County have made good progress on their squad for next season.
“We have the makings of a good team,” says manager Michael Flynn.
“Competition for places is crucial and we have a lot of defenders and plenty of midfield players.
“We need a couple more strikers and maybe one or two elsewhere and I’m sure we’ll be fine.”
Players committed to Newport County for 2017-18: Mickey Demetriou, Mark O’Brien, David Pipe, Tom Owen-Evans, Joe Day, Marlon Jackson, Robbie Willmott, Scot Bennett, Dan Butler, Jamie Turley, Joss Labadie, Mark Randall, Sean Rigg, Aaron Williams, Jazzi Barnum-Bobb, Ben Tozer in next season’s squad.
Players who have moved on: Craig Reid (to Coventry City), Mitch Rose (to Grimsby Town), Lenell John-Lewis (to Shrewsbury Town), Marcus Beauchamp, Liam Angel, Paul Bignot, Kieran Parselle, Finlay Wood, Jack Compton, Tom Meechan, Ryan Bird.
Darren Jones retired from professional football and will play part-time for Bath City, while Alex Samuel, Sid Nelson and Janoi Gordon all went back to their parent clubs after loan spells.
Undecided: James Bittner, Jennison Myrie-Williams.