The Dutchman endured a tough start to his Arsenal career in similar fashion to Henry’s, but has become the Gunners talisman and captain, and his former team mate believes that only Christian Ronaldo and Lionel Messi can be compared to Van Persie at present.
The Dutch striker once again produced the goods with a stunning volley against Everton to claim all three points for the Gunners in a narrow 1-nil victory. Henry who is currently training with the North London side was present during the 125th Anniversary celebrations, and witnessed yet another Van Persie stunner to bring his tally to 31 goals in 32 Premier League matches in 2011.
Henry said on his former striking partner:
What can I say about Robin? I saw him come in here and at the very beginning he wasn’t the easiest guy to deal with, like I wasn’t I guess. But it’s amazing to see how he has improved.
That tells you how intelligent a player he is. I’m just in admiration. Thank God he is playing for us and doing well.
It’s nice to see a player improve. What van Persie is doing now, in terms of, not just goals, but ratio of goals, apart from Ronaldo and Messi it is ridiculous.
He is doing something amazing. That also tells you how important it is for him to not get injured.
He has never had a chance to have a full season since he has been here – he was always out for two or three months. For the first time he can go on a roll now and you can see the difference.
Henry joined Herbert Chapman and Tony Adams in bronze with their statues revealed on Friday, and the French World Cup winner was quick to pay tribute to his former team mates during the unveiling:
It’s difficult to compare different eras. I can only feel honoured and privileged that I was chosen.
I want to insist how important it was for me to play with some great players. Without them I wouldn’t have been able to play there.
When you look at the likes of the back four: Martin Keown, Nigel Winterburn, Lee Dixon, Sol Campbell, Ashley Cole – I am going to name the whole squad – Patrick Vieira, Sylvain Wiltord, who was underrated at the time because he was an amazing player. Robert Pires as well.
Without them I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did – we went through a season unbeaten. Without your team you are nothing. It would not have been possible without them so I want to thank them too.
Henry’s meteoric rise to become the Gunner’s record goalscorer was nothing short of phenomenal, and insists that he will always be a fan of the North London side and felt the pain of Arsenal’s difficult start to the season. Meanwhile, he insists that he has returned to Arsenal’s first team facilities for retaining match fitness and is contemplating a career in management but is prudent to suggest he will be Wenger’s successor.
Every time I can I always watch Arsenal. It was hard at the beginning of the season but now they are on the right track and they have to keep on going.
But I’m in pain when Arsenal lose, I can’t take it well. I didn’t like it when I was a player and it’s worse now – at least when you’re a player you can do something about it. I always watch them.
One day I might think about management, but when is he (Wenger) going to stop? The manager is right here.
I just came back here to stay in shape. Also you know how much I love London – I have my daughter here and I am always here in the off season. It’s perfect for me to be around the club.
It must be extremely influential on the squad to have Henry training alongside them, and for Van Persie it would be very beneficial to have the experience of the Frenchman back alongside him and it will hopefully help the Dutchman to decide to extend his Arsenal contract at the end of this season. The only way that Van Persie can become a true legend in the calibre of Henry will be if he commits his future to the Gunners next year and is able to stay relatively injury free over the next few years.
His scoring record is phenomenal this year and his importance to Arsenal is immense, the amount of special goals the striker is producing is outrageous and he is by far the most in form player in the Premier League at present. But big credit must go the whole side and also to Alex Song for a sensational through ball to set up Van Persie’s classy 125th anniversary goal.