Arsenal legend Thierry Henry retired from football this week and naturally speculation over the Frenchman’s future has hogged the headlines. Although he returns to London to take up a role as a Sky Pundit, the legendary striker has some extracurricular activities in mind – gaining his coaching badges with his former club.
The club record goalscorer has hung up his boots at age 37 after a hugely successful career where he has starred for Monaco, Juventus, Arsenal, Barcelona and, more recently, New York Red Bulls.
The World Cup winner has set his sights on a managerial role with the Gunners but understands he has a long way to go before he can prove he is up to the task.
However with his new Sky duties basing him in London, Henry understands the intense speculation surrounding a potential role in some capacity with his former club but will make sure a return happens at the right time – when he’s ready.
When asked by the Telegraph if his ambition was to one day manage Arsenal, Henry replied:
That would be a dream come true, but that’s not how it works.
You have to prove yourself first, you have to learn first. You need to be able to understand what it is to be a manager.
Can you teach, can you be patient? All these problems. People think they are all managers in their own way, but it’s not that easy.
The plan is to start my badges and I guess Arsenal will help me. To pass your badges, you have to work closely with a club and I would like to think it is going to be Arsenal. You know I’m in London when you see me at Arsenal.
First and foremost I don’t know how or when, but everybody knows I would love to go back to Arsenal in some capacity. But I need to be equipped to go back. I want to learn the process, so I have to get my badges and what not. We will see what is going to happen.
It’s not a secret, everybody talks about me going back to Arsenal and me the same thing, but it doesn’t always work like that. First and foremost, I have to make sure that I have everything on board to be able to go back.
Henry certainly has his head screwed on especially after seeing several of his peers and former players of his era struggle to live up to the managerial hype. It takes hard work, dedication and a unique combination of football and people skills, not to mention a sound understanding of the game.
Henry feels he will harbour the hardworking mentality he learnt from his countrymen in the early part of his illustrious career and pass it on to his future pupils.
Hard work is all I know. It comes from my dad and the guys I played with when I arrived in the national team. Zidane, Djorkaeff, Thuram, Desailly, Petit, Barthez, that’s how they were and that’s what they taught me.
So I took it on board because you can only be the reflection of your education. That’s the way I was educated, so that’s what I’m going to try to pass on.
The King will certainly make an interesting pundit. Someone who we all will enjoy actually listening too and understands the beautiful game. Not just Arsenal fans but all football enthusiasts.
A return for the iconic centre forward would be magical but there is absolutely no rush. While many will hope he can be the successor to Arsene Wenger in two and half years time (if he lasts that long) it is far more realistic to assume he will slowly gain his education in north London and step up to the plate when he is ready.
He will require plenty of managerial experience and would be best to work his way up then be thrown straight into the limelight. Similarly to Pep Guardiola, Henry can rise through Arsenal’s coaching staff ranks by managing youth or reserve team football and eventually be the top dog one day.
When that day comes it’ll be magical. Wouldn’t you concur Gooners?