Thierry Henry: Player-Coach?


Yesterday’s announcement that the 39 year old Ryan Giggs will become a player-coach for  MU with immediate effect, made me thinks once again about our need to have and retain experienced winners, who also embody the core values and traditions of the club, at Arsenal.

I know that virtually everybody agrees that Bergkamp should join the coaching staff at Arsenal as soon as possible. We will have to wait and see whether this will happen.

However, there is another legend who would fit the bill perfectly, and like Ryan Giggs, he is still playing: Thierry Henry. Henry is a young chicken compared to Giggs, having only lived for a mere 35 years until now. And our all-time leading scorer with 228 goals has played not that many games less than the fantastic Welshman either (at least with regard to his on-field actions, we can only say that he was a fantastic footballer). Giggs played 1009 matches (including Internationals) and Henry 861.

TH14 has won virtually everything a modern footballer can win. The World Cup, the European Championship, the PL, Ligue 1, La Liga, the CL, and many, many cups and individual awards. He also loves Arsenal and sees the only part that matters in North London as his spiritual football home.

I am a big believer in the master-apprentice model of learning, especially in sports. As Arsenal likes to develop their own talents – often bought at a young age and therefore still totally mouldable – I reckon it is paramount to have a number of (former) masters in all disciplines at the club. Bould is doing a great job in getting the best out of our defenders and defensively minded midfielders at the moment, for example.

At MU they tend to keep hold of their veteran stars, although Van Nistelrooy, Stam and Beckham might tell us differently. However, the likes of Gibbs, Scholes and to a lesser extent Ferdinand are good examples of Masters who can guide, by word AND by action, the club’s youngsters to their full potential.

It saddens me a bit that the club (had to?) let go all our recent heroes, with the exception of the Iceman, although even he was not retained in a coaching capacity. What would Vieira have done for the likes of Ramsey, Frimpong, Wilshere, Coquelin, Diaby and even Arteta? His coaching, whether still as a player or as one of Arsene’s staff, would have been of great value to our promising talents.

Pires and possibly Ljungberg could also have played a great coaching role. All these players have been there and done it, love the club, and would still live and breathe the principles and values of total/Wenger football, as well as what the club stands for. And there are of course more legends who would fit the bill.

It is fantastic to see Freddie back at the club in an ambassadorial role now. And it would be great if we could add either Dennis or Thierry, or ideally both(!), as well.

Dennis would be a great coach and the thought of Bould-Wenger-Bergkamp on the bench would just be awesome. He is qualified and has gained management/coaching experience at one of  the greatest clubs in football history, Ajax. Would we find it hard to attract the likes of Higuain, Jovetic etc, if they knew they would be working with the Dutch Master directly? Possibly less so.

But this post is about the simply phenomenal Thierry Henry. Just imagine him working with Ox, Theo, Giroud, Podolski, Cazorla, Gnabry, Eisfeld, and hopefully HIguain and/or Jovetic on a constant, no time-constrains basis: it would be an absolute dream for these players and also for us. The Master would work his socks off to get them to reach their full, very promising potential, and make our club successful again.

It would also be nice that he himself could play now and again (mostly as a substitute), just to show the others how it is done in practice. He is not as fast or athletic as he used to be, but he makes up for this with his technique and experience, and if Giggs can do at 39, then surely Thierry can do it at 35.

Bring him back Arsene; we cannot have too many masters at our great club!

Written by: TotalArsenal.

23 thoughts on “Thierry Henry: Player-Coach?

  • Great post. Again.

    Thierry could be brought in to work with the forwards and midfielders and train them on finishing and movement because let’s face it, there’s been none better out there.

  • Always remember – that as much as we would love Bergkamp back as a coach he doesn’t fly.

  • wonderful post TA, i must tell you

    Seriously, you just read my thinking from yesterday! when i saw the headlines regarding Manure’s appointments.

    Personally i would recommend Henry to work with Gervinho coz clinical finishing is totally lacking in him. Gerv is a good footballer BUT he seems just unable to finish off his dribbles and clever runs. Henry-esque stamina in front of goal would do Gerv wonders, I tell you. Imagine Gerv, Giro, Santi, Ox, Pod and Theo cutting in from the left channel before coolly placing the ball to the bottom right corner of the goalkeeper. Imaginations eeeh…

    Nonetheless, the two living legends (DB10 and TH14) would bring in motivational factors and winning mentality. May your wish come true TA. Indeed, Bring Them Back Arsenal.

  • Hello TA,Fellow gooners..

    I’ve been away 4 a while TA..just finished my university course and as if going through the system isn’t enough, finishing is even tougher..I’m all sorted now and GLAD to be back where i BELONG!!!!!!!!

    EXCELLENT POST…AS ALWAYS!!!!..Flawless writing.

    Couldn’t agree with you more..about time we held on to our demi-gods and make them part of our great football club..ALL the TOP clubs do it..manure have Giggs, barca had Pep, Real have the great’s actually a BIG let down that a club which oozes CLASS like ours doesn’t do’s all good with the likes of Bould and even Pat Rice being around but as you mentioned, having Legends of not the the distant past and Legends who were part of arguably the GREATEST era of our club is something 2 behold.

    I look back at December last year when THE KING was training Theo and we could all see the impact he had on Theo’s game..particularly the Newcastle game, i swear it was an Henry dejavu moment..the ball control, the movement, the positioning from Theo..all HENRY CLASS!!! imagine THE ICEMAN having sessions with Jack and Santi..i’m already drooling!!!!!!

    It’s something we should have done but i hope it actually happens..talented youngsters who LOVE the club being mentored by legends who did it all and LOVE the club can only be a good thing for our great club

  • Marcus agreed, simple the best of the best!

    Mrswoo, yes that is a disadvantage, but he can travel to most places now by train and car.

  • Cheers mA, very much appreciated. Yes Thierry working with the Gerv might do wonders, and the fact they can converse in French might also help.

    I guess one of the problems is TH’s current salary. He is earning pooh-loads of cash in America and he might be a bit dear as a coach…. but player-coach could still work.

  • Good to see you back KG, and thank you for the kind words! 🙂

    University over now? Where and what do you study if I may ask?
    I am drooling with you; both legends would make such a difference!

  • Keep in mind that all former legends do not necessarily make good coaches. They also need to be FA certified and that takes time. They must also enjoy coaching and want to make that their new vocation and there are existing coaches that need to be respected as well. However the idea to see Henry and Bergkamp working with the kids and maybe even Seaman and Pires would be very interesting indeed.

  • TA,

    Great post and how wonderful would it actually be to have some of our legends on board to change the shape of our squad. Someone to learn from and it is refreshing to read this post as i believe that is what is needed at THOF.
    We dismantled our Invincibles too quickly and they all moved on when they could have offered a whole lot more to our club and i feel that is where we started our decline.

    By bringing in some of our heroes and showing our existing crop of players the way to success and perhaps change the mindset of one or two players and that could make all the difference between a successful year and another 4th place trophy

  • As much as I’d love this idea, I still think that his opinion is not gonna hold much considering the fracas that ensued between Arsene & Bouldy last season. I’m not taking anything away from Wenger as a wonderful coach, but I think TH14’s gonna be a massive addition to our coaching crew, to ou forwards and wingers alike. But………,

  • Sanogo has scored again! The kid just won’t stop! 😉 Great post TA (as usual) 😀 I agree, Henry would be a perfect mentor for our younger strikers (especially Ox and Sanogo). Bergkamp should be brought in as a U21 coach (because that wouldn’t involve too much flying) and Henry brought in as a player coach and later promoted to assistant manager.

  • nice one, TA

    as much as i would like that happening but for now i don’t see that happening and rightfully so.

    it may happen eventually but can’t see it for another few years to be honest.

    besides i do feel that king henry already does his bit every now and again from december to january (unofficially ? working with our forward, theo e.t.c e.t.c)

    not sure if the great man himself can help Gerv though with his finishing tho 😀

  • All agreed, Alex and Dylan. 🙂

    Funminiyi, we are talking more about a hands-on sort of coaching with our attackers. The team-tactical stuff would still be Wenger’s full responsibility.

    Hi Jambon 🙂

    Why rightly so? 😕

  • i was on about TH with the rightly so one, not DB,

    DB needs to hurry the F up and join the club in any capacity which means he is able to help our players (not just as an ambassador ) , ha

    it’s been a very quiet day today on BK, this is what happens when you go biking, ha

  • Jambon 🙂

    I reckon everybody is getting tired of all the ‘close to’ gossip, and without any football there is really not much to talk about. All my co-writers have either ran dry or are too busy with other things.

    Let’s just say it is the silence before the storm hahaha 😛

  • indeed, that might just be it .

    but i got an interesting theory on why it’s taking so long to sign Higuain…

    i reckon it’s to do with Cavani…

    RM are perhaps using Arsenal as bait in getting more money and starting a price war of sorts between the mega rich clubs e.t.c

    if i was RM, i would be certainly doing that myself.

    as a gooner it’s obviously frustrating though

  • JB – I was thinking down the same lines. To save face, I reckon Higuain will not be sold until RM have bought a big name themselves.

  • Funminiyi, the so called fight between Bould and Wenger probably didn’t even take place. It was media generated bull-shit from my perspective anyway. If Wenger didn’t listen to Bould at all, then how do you explain the improved defensive play at the beginning and through the last third of the previous season??? He might have been stubborn and NOT listened in the middle, but the main thing is that he let Bould exert his influence and know-how in the end. I don’t know what will happen next year, but I don’t think there is a problem between Wenger and Bould.

  • TA,

    Have a great day and enjoy the weather.

    Re: your post at 22:42,
    I do think things have dried up a bit, It is the silence of all Gooners out there anxiously awaiting something to happen after Gazidis’ comments early last month. Most have probably given up on anything happening since the team departs on Thursday for their Asian tour. Cant see much transfer activity happening during that period which would be a real shame.

  • Hello TA.. just completed my Computer Science degree at a local uni..

    The news front today is rather dim..i swear i can’t take it!!!!!..but i believe Le Prof is working hard 2 get the players 2 improve our squad, evidenced by the amount of players he’s shipped out…I’ll continue holding my breath..

    By the way TA..I’m working on that Ramsey piece that you encouraged me to write and will be done by say the coming weekend…

  • Exellent KG – hope your degree will get you into exciting work opportunities, and I have read Kenya is dong really well at the moment… 🙂

    Players will come but I guess it is just hard to price them away from the top clubs without offering rediculous money.

    Really looking fwd to your Ramsey post! 🙂

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