Belfast Telegraph

Give Henry time, urges Wenger

Arsene Wenger has warned Arsenal fans not to expect Gunners legend Thierry Henry to hit the ground running after returning to the club on a short-term loan.

The 34-year-old will go straight into the squad for Monday's FA Cup third-round clash against Leeds at the start of a six-and-a-half-week spell which will take in games against Manchester United, AC Milan and possibly the visit of Tottenham on February 26.

Wenger said: "Thierry will be involved against Leeds, but at the moment 90 minutes is a bit long for him because he has not played for a long time. He works hard, but he is a bit behind physically. In one or two weeks Thierry will be fine."

Henry became Arsenal's record goalscorer during eight trophy-laden seasons before leaving to join Barcelona in 2007.

Only last month, the Gunners unveiled a bronze statue of Henry outside the gates of the Emirates Stadium as part of their 125th anniversary celebrations.

Wenger believes Henry's return can only be good for all involved.

He said: "You cannot take away from people what they have done, and what he has delivered will stay forever. It can just make the statue a bit bigger. Let us hope he will do that.

"Thierry is a world-class player and even at this club a player of that dimension is always very difficult to find, especially at this period of the season. He can just add something more to the team."

Henry admitted he never expected to return to Arsenal, but when the opportunity presented itself he could not turn it down. However, the World Cup winner is conscious of how he has changed as a player.

"I am not 25 any more, I am not going to take the ball from the middle of the park and dribble past five or six players. Don't expect that," said Henry, who will link up again with New York Red Bulls ahead of the start of the Major League Soccer season in March.


From Belfast Telegraph