Striker Thierry Henry has admitted he considered retiring from international football after France’s disappointing performance at Euro 2004.

However, the Arsenal forward believed it was his duty to carry on and support the younger generation after several senior players including Zinedine Zidane, Marcel Desailly, Bixente Lizarazu and Lilian Thuram annoucned their retriement.

“I thought about leaving after our disappointing performance at the European championship,” Henry told a news conference on Thursday, ahead of France’s opening World Cup qualifier against Israel in Paris on Saturday.

“But it didn’t last very long and I brushed aside the idea.”

France were knocked out by eventual champions Greece at the quarter-final stage.

“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.

“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 be get back to winning ways and the sooner the better. We badly need a string of wins now,” he said.

Henry compared the current situation with that of two years ago when France were knocked out of the World Cup in the opening round.

“The changes are even bigger this time,” Henry said. “We have lost Zidane who was not only an outstanding player but a guy who helped you to play on the top of your skills.

“But we are going to miss Desailly. Everybody can think what he wants about him but to me he will remain Desailly for ever.

“Look around you, there were very few players like him.”