• Premier League

Wenger trusts Henry to boost Arsenal silverware hunt

ESPNsoccernet staff
January 12, 2011
Thierry Henry has returned to Arsenal for training © Getty Images

Arsene Wenger has praised the influence of Thierry Henry on the Arsenal dressing room as they prepare to bounce back to winning ways in the Carling Cup semi-final against Ipswich.

Wenger insists his side will heed the warning they received against Leeds in the FA Cup on Saturday, when a last-minute Cesc Fabregas penalty was required to force a replay in their third round tie.

Gunners legend Henry is training with his old club to prepare for his new Major League Soccer season with New York and Wenger believes his presence will help lift his players to another level as they chase silverware on four fronts.

"We are happy to speak with him every day," Wenger said of his former skipper. "He is in the dressing room with the players and they are happy to have him back. He sees as well how much they have evolved since he left the club. He can help them to have confidence. He is a very intelligent boy who has massive experience.

"He can help the players in the dressing room and that is what he does. But we are happy to help him to get fit and he is happy to be here. He was one of the greatest players this club has ever had and has done a huge service to this club. The only way we can pay him back is always to be welcoming, as we are with all our former players when they want to get fit."

Wenger accepts Ipswich have "nothing to lose'' in Wednesday night's first leg at Portman Road. Although Arsenal are expected to comfortably dispose of the Tractor Boys, who earlier this week appointed Paul Jewell as Roy Keane's replacement, Wenger insists his Premier League title chasers can take nothing for granted as they aim to stay on course for Wembley and a first trophy since 2005.

"We have been warned,'' Wenger said. "We will certainly be on our toes going to Ipswich. Our last game has shown that against a Championship team we must be completely up for it and focused from the first minute on if we don't want to be surprised.

"In the Premier League there are one or two players standing out where the club has spent a lot of money. In the Championship you face the team as a compact unit who is ready to fight against you, and I think that is what we will face against Ipswich. The pressure is on Arsenal and they have nothing to lose. That is part of being at Arsenal to deal with that and I accept that completely.''

Wenger will again rotate his squad but the likes of Laurent Koscielny, Jack Wilshere and Robin van Persie could all be back having sat out the FA Cup tie.

"Maybe we were a bit unbalanced offensively in our team and maybe we have to be a bit more cautious in the structure of our team,'' Wenger said. "I see the Carling Cup as a possibility of a trophy and that's how we will approach the semi-final. What is in the players' brain is a desire to win. Trophies are the consequence of your performance and the quality of your display.''

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