Arsene Wenger’s bond with Thierry Henry has remained close even though the legendary French striker departed Arsenal on a permanent basis in 2007.
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Since then Henry has returned to the Gunners in two separate loan stints while playing for the New York Red Bulls, and Arsenal even traveled over to the Big Apple to play RBNY this summer so the duo could, presumably, catch up. So it’s only natural that as persistent rumors regarding Henry’s possible retirement from soccer at the end of the current MLS season circulate, Wenger should be asked about his former prodigy’s next step in the soccer world.
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Asked by reporters if Henry, 37, could return to Arsenal as a coach if he does hang his boots up in the coming weeks following the conclusion of New York’s 2014 season, here’s what Wenger had to say.
“It’s not impossible,” Wenger said. “I welcome people who have played for us to come back but not (for just) an honorary job. He has to learn the job first. I have seen so many who have the qualities and they have not survived their first job because they are not ready.”
“Has he the quality to be a manager? Yes… but he has to decide to sacrifice his life,” Wenger continued. “When you’re a player, you think it’s so simple to be a manager. When you are a manager, you think it’s so complicated suddenly and if you’re not prepared for that you cannot survive. One quality that you need is resistance to criticism when you feel it’s not justified. I don’t know how he’ll handle that.”
With a statue of Henry outside the Emirates Stadium immortalizing his legendary status in the red half of North London, is a return to the club where he made his name, but this time as a coach, a good idea? Who knows.
Wenger has turned to former players such as Steve Bould, his current assistant, to help him out and seems pretty open to the idea of Henry joining him at the Emirates. That is, of course, only when Henry retires.