Thierry Henry at Arsenal: 'I am just here to help'
You would not expect him to play second fiddle to anyone after his dramatic comeback goal for Arsenal against Leeds on Monday night, but Thierry Henry allayed fans' fears by saying that he could thrive alongside leading goalscorer Robin van Persie.
Henry's winner as a substitute against Leeds gave the home crowd their best moment of the season so far at the Emirates and a contender for the best moment of the season full stop, although Van Persie's hat-trick at Stamford Bridge will take some beating.
Afterwards Henry dismissed concerns that his return might inhibit the Dutchman, who has scored 21 goals in all competitions this season but was rested on Monday. After the game the manager Arsène Wenger had even suggested that Van Persie could be moved out "to the flank" to accommodate a forward line with Henry in it.
Asked if he could play with Van Persie, Henry said: 'You ask any player right now if they want to play with Robin van Persie and they will tell you yes. Theo [Walcott] is here, Alex [Oxlade-Chamberlain] is here, Andrei [Arshavin]... some of the guys have been here a long time so the boss is the only guy to make that decision.
"I'm here to help. If it's 20, 30 or 35 minutes, I will go out there and help the team, do my best for the team. I guess Robin was excited [on Monday night] because I know I was. But I just want to go with the flow, be an extra player and try to do a job if I get the chance to come on."
Henry is on loan for six and a half weeks which means he would be available for the first leg of the Champions League first knockout round tie with Milan in Italy on 15 February and could still be in London for the home League game against Tottenham on 26 February. Wenger says that Arsenal have an option to extend his loan from the New York Red Bulls to eight weeks.
Henry said that the decision would be made by Wenger. "It all depends on what the boss decides on how long I am going to stay. Do remember that I am very much a Red Bulls player, too.
"It would be a dream to be part of a team playing in the Champions League or playing against Tottenham. But that goes for every game – the Leeds game, just running along the track to warm up was just crazy. Even if I wasn't going to come on, just warming up along the side, the fans were nice before the game, during the game.
"I'm just trying to take it all in. That's something that I didn't do enough of when I was playing here before. You know how it is, you play every three days and you don't enjoy it like you should. I knew then it was going to last a long time. I didn't know when I was going to leave before and now I know exactly when I'm going to leave."
Henry said that his goal was dedicated the late Jean Scorey, who worked at the club and was the mother of Paul Johnson, a member of the Arsenal backroom staff, and the late Lynn Ann MacLennan, who worked in Henry's personal executive box at the Emirates.
The member of the staff he embraced at the end of the game was fitness coach Tony Colbert who has helped recondition him over the last two weeks. Henry said that Colbert's contribution had been vital given that two weeks earlier he had been "on the beach in Mexico".