Thursday 12 January 2012

He's more steam-powered than HS2 now but Henry can prove a point

It was almost inevitable that Thierry Henry would be the saviour on Monday against Leeds. The whole night was his night.

And who should begrudge him that? He’s a bona fide Arsenal legend – perhaps the only player we’ve ever had who was at times the best in the world. He’s earned at least one evening of pure adulation.

I’m unsure how much more impact he can make over the six weeks of his loan considering he’s chunkier, and doubtless slower-paced, than at his peak.

But his bigger contribution may come off the pitch.

One of the concerns about his comeback has been that it might knock a few noses out of joint in the dressing room, now our star names will be overshadowed for a few weeks.

Judging by the exuberant celebrations (compared to Henry’s usually laid-back approach to life, at least) after the goal and at the final whistle, I get the feeling that’s what Henry wants to do – he wants to make the players aware of how fortunate they are to be plying their trade for the Arsenal.

It sounded a bit corny, but when he said he was playing the game as an Arsenal supporter for the first time it had a ring of truth to it. He’s been there, done that and won the medals as an Arsenal player so understands how important the club is to us fans.

Of course, I’m basing all this on his body language over the course of about 20 minutes and his comments certainly don’t suggest he’s got a bigger, psychological agenda in mind.

But if he manages to get inside some of the egos in the dressing room and show those players whose performances have been, at best, hit-and-miss what playing for a club like Arsenal should mean to them, then his time here will be a success.

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