Thierry Henry thinks Arsenal’s current squad are capable of ending Arsenal’s 11-year wait for a Premier League title.
Insisting the Gunners can’t allow their drought to reach Liverpool-esque proportions – the Scousers haven’t won the title since 1990 after winning five titles in the 80s – the Frenchman noted that, a bad start and slip-up against Monaco aside, the current crop are on the right track.
In a wide-ranging interview with L’Equipe [paywalled], undertaken on the eve of a presentation at the Stade de France honouring his international contribution, Henry explained:
“If I told you in 1990 that Liverpool wouldn’t win a championship for the next 25-years you’d have thought I was mad. I don’t want the same thing to happen at Arsenal. It’s already been 11 years.
“This year, we’re not so far away. The Monaco game aside, they’re on the right track but they lost too many points early in the season. I think this group can win the title in the coming years.”
Keeping himself busy in retirement, Henry also touched on the enjoyment he’s getting from his role as a Sky Sports pundit and how the coaching course he’s undertaking has shed light on the all-encompaasing nature management.
“My way of commentating is more or less what I do when I’m in my living room when I’m explaining the action to my mates. The difference on TV is that you don’t always have time to explain things. You don’t always get a chance to talk about the bits of the game you want to talk about.
“But I love talking about and watching football. Sometimes I miss games because they’re on at the same time as another! Football is my passion and it’ll always be my passion.”
On whether he’ll end up coaching Arsenal he added: “I’m not claiming that one day I’ll lead the team or succeed Arsene Wenger. [At the moment] I just want to learn the role with the youngsters at Arsenal. I just want to be ready if, one day, the opportunity [to coach Arsenal] presents itself.
“I realise now you can’t just prepare a session at the last minute or just change five players. When you’re a player you don’t busy yourself worrying about these things. Today I’ve discovered the size of the role.
“The other coaches tell me the youngsters are on it a bit more when I’m there. I try not to think about it, I just want to help them by doing my job. It’s not always easy; just because you know football doesn’t mean you communicate things and educate people well, or get them to understand the things you understand. The role demands that I serve my apprenticeship.”
If you don’t mind spending €0.49 (and using Google Translate) you can read the full interview in L’Equipe. It’s arguably the most detailed and open chat Henry has done with the French press in years, if indeed ever.
He’s not so keen to talk about THAT handball against Ireland, but he does reflect on the roots of his passion for the game, the teammates and opponents he loves and respects, why he always looked so grumpy on the field, the changing role of a striker and his international career. It’s a fascinating read.
Cheers to @MattSpiro for the heads up.