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Olise, Ugochukwu named in France squad for Paris Olympics

Former Barcelona and French winger Thierry Henry has included two players eligible to play for Nigeria, Michael Olise and Lesley Ugochukwu in his provisional squad for the 2024 Olympic Games.

Henry, who also played for Arsenal, worked as an assistant manager for the Belgium national team during the 2018 World Cup and EURO 2021. He was appointed as the French U-23 coach last year.

Now, as the French U-23 coach, Henry aims to win a gold medal on home soil at the 2024 Olympics. He has selected two players of Nigerian descent for his 23-man squad: Michael Olise from Crystal Palace and Lesley Ugochukwu from Chelsea. Other notable players in the squad include Alexandre Lacazette, Jean-Philippe Mateta, Mathys Tel, and PSG’s Warren Zaïre-Emery. New Real Madrid star, Kylian Mbappe is not included in the squad.

Michael Olise, born in England to a Nigerian father and a French-Algerian mother, can represent France, Algeria, England, or Nigeria internationally.

The 22-year-old has played for the French youth team since 2019. Lesley Ugochukwu, also of Nigerian descent, is the nephew of former Rennes and Super Eagles defender Onyekachi Apam and has represented France from the U-18 level to the U-23 level.

Last season, Olise scored 10 goals and provided six assists in 19 games for Crystal Palace. Mateta, his teammate, scored 16 goals and provided five assists in the English Premier League.

The combination of Olise and Ugochukwu is expected to play a big role in how far France will go in the 2024 Olympics in Paris. The football tournament at the 2024 Summer Olympics will take place from July 24 to August 10, 2024.

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