• Premier League

Wenger: Henry is welcome back at Arsenal - if he is serious

ESPN staff
November 22, 2014
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Arsene Wenger has revealed that he would welcome Thierry Henry back to Arsenal as a coach - if the club legend is serious about forging a career on the training pitch.

Henry, Arsenal's all-time leading scorer with 228 goals in all competitions, has had two spells as a player - firstly between 1999 and 2007 and then in a short loan spell at the start of 2010.

The 37-year-old is still playing in Major League Soccer with New York Red Bulls, who face New England Revolution in the first leg of the MLS play-off Conference final on Sunday. While he is expected to leave the club at the end of his contract later this year, the striker has not yet made a decision on retirement from playing.

Asked if he would welcome Henry back for a third time, this time as part of his coaching staff, Wenger did not rule out the prospect.

"It's not impossible - I welcome people who have played for us to come back, but they need to do something," Wenger said. "It has to be a job available and one that you get up in the morning and you have to do something - not an honorary job.

"He has to learn his job first. I have seen so many people who have the qualities to be a manager but not survive their first job because they are not ready. When you are a football 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.

"You learn to handle a dressing room and people. This job is about ideas and putting them into practice. You can only do that if you have the responsibility of the team."

Henry, meanwhile, believes Wenger will only be truly appreciated for his achievements with Arsenal when he is no longer their manager.

Wenger signed Henry in 1999 for a then club-record fee of £11 million from Juventus and he won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups before joining Barcelona.

Henry's departure coincided in a less successful period for the North London side and even though Wenger has managed to guide Arsenal to Champions League group-stage qualification for 17 consecutive seasons, some Arsenal fans questioned the Frenchman's tenure given their failure to land silverware for nine years until last season.

Arsenal finally ended that trophy drought by winning the FA Cup and Henry believes Wenger is a victim of his own success to a certain extent given that he won major honours earlier on during his reign.

"When you give people a lot they get used to it and they just expect and demand and rightly so because when you're at a club like Arsenal people expect and want you to win and that's the way it is,'' Henry told the BBC's Football Focus.

"For me it's a no-brainer, the guy has changed Arsenal Football Club. Was Arsenal successful before? Yes they were, but in a different way. Now Arsenal is recognised for the type of football they play and that's all down to him."

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