Thierry Henry: Player-Coach?

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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.