Arsene Wenger says that Thierry Henry’s media duties with Sky left him in an uncomfortable position when it came to coaching Arsenal’s youngsters.
The club’s record scorer had been offered a full-time role working with the Gunners under-18 side at the start of the summer only to up leave the club when he informed the boss he wouldn’t be turning his back on his punditry with Sky Sports. The 39-year-old has since accepted a role with the Belgian national team.
Speaking to the Arsenal Magazine about the importance of having former players around the training ground – a topic that the likes of Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Vieira have touched on recently – Wenger made clear he too firmly believes in the positive influence of having the club’s identity passed from generation to generation.
“Well, when you have an opportunity to give our former players a role at the club, they know Arsenal is about identity,” said Wenger.
“Identity is about values and the players who have played at the club for a long time know the values are important, not only on the playing side but on the moral side, so they can carry through the generations.
“It is important for this club and the history of this club.”
On Henry’s decision to leave Arsenal this summer, he added: “There was a lot of debate about Thierry Henry not staying here. I think Thierry Henry has done an exceptional job here but it is an uncomfortable position for him.
“He agreed that it was not easy for him to deal with talking about Arsenal during the weekend and then coming in. You want him to be free from his statements and it’s always difficult for him to be really objective sometimes, and even a bit harsh, and then come in and face the players.
“It will be easier for him and I’m sure that he will come back into coaching later.”