After announcing his retirement from soccer on Tuesday, Thierry Henry moved into a role with Sky Sports in the UK as a pundit and ambassador.
However, don’t rule out a coaching role with Arsenal coming up soon.
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Henry, 37, is the all-time leading goalscorer for the Gunners with 228 goals in 377 appearances for the north London club. He loves the club and was the talisman during their most successful spell in recent memory as he helped deliver Premier League titles and other cups. The reason the Gunners are so famous today is largely down to Henry’s herculean efforts season after season from when he arrived in 1999 until he left in 2007. He is a legend at the club and always will be, there’s a statue of him outside the Emirates Stadium (pictured, right) and Gunners fans worship him.
This may be stating the obvious: but Henry is at home when he is at Arsenal. He will move back to London in his new role as a television pundit and if he’s being honest, his heart has never left England’s capital. In France, sure, he’s famous. But the adulation and respect that he receives in London and England is insurmountable, especially among his adoring fans at Arsenal.
During his unveiling with Sky Sports on Tuesday, Henry let something slip which could point towards a career in coaching starting very soon. Will that come with the Gunners? Let’s wait and see.
“Right now I am not signed to a team to coach, so it makes sense to go into the media,” Henry said.
[ RELATED: By the numbers – Henry’s career in stats ]
In recent months his manager at Arsenal and the man who helped him develop into the player and person he has become, Arsene Wenger, spoke about the possibility for Henry to return to the Emirates Stadium in some capacity.
“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 said. “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.”
[ VIDEO: Henry’s top 10 goals ]
Henry taking up some kind of coaching role with the Gunners is expected by many, and if he chooses to go down that route, perhaps nobody else will be able to enjoy the instant respect and adulation of fans, players and management alike. And if you look back to when Wenger unveiled a statue of Henry outside of the Emirates Stadium in 2011, this is what he had to say.
“His sensational career was down simply to Thierry’s class,” Wenger said. “He is a player who had everything you dream of as a manager – physical potential, a technical level, super intelligence and what people also forget for many top level athletes, is he was dedicated to his job, with a very serious life. He is simply a model professional who won everything you can in our world – Thierry, you were really special.”
Looking back at some memorable quotes from Henry over the years, one in particular sticks out from when he left Arsenal for Barcelona. This points to Henry heading back ‘home’ to Arsenal one day, as he continues to map out his future path.
“Arsenal is in my blood as well as my heart,” Henry said. “I will always, always, always remember you guys. I said I was going to be a Gooner for life and I did not lie because when you are a Gooner, you will always be a Gooner. This club is in my heart and will remain in my heart forever.”
Can you think of anybody better to learn the coaching aspects and carry on Wenger’s legacy at Arsenal? Henry seems a perfect fit to become an assistant under Wenger at Arsenal and eventually take over, one day. Even if that doesn’t pan out, Henry’s status as a playing legend for the Gunners should transcend to an off the field role for the rest of his life.
As the great man said: “when you are a Gooner, you will always be a Gooner.”