Thierry Henry pays Arsene Wenger tribute to the dedication and vision of the coach towards the long-serving manager’s approaching exit from the club.
Arsenal players from the past and present celebrated Wenger’s 22-year period in office after his final home game on Sunday, which saw the club defeat Burnley 5-0 winners at the Emirates Stadium.
The Former Arsenal forward is arguably the biggest success story of Wenger’s tenure having been switched from a winger into one of the most prolific strikers in Premier League history, and the Frenchman has credited his compatriot with giving him the belief to become one of the world’s best players.
“He was there from 7.30am until 6 or 7 at night, watching games and loving the club. It’s going to be difficult for someone doing something for so long with the club he loves to just leave. It’s not an easy thing to just call a day. He loves to be on the grass, smelling the grass, he has a vision and he’s a visionary. He always thinks his team can achieve things and thinks his team can achieve what he wants.
“Whether you agree or disagree, he goes to that extent to believe that. We met the expectations in our generation and a bit before. At times, he had that belief in that team which unfortunately didn’t meet the expectation in the league. I can only say one thing about him, and that’s thank you. The man he was for me. He was a father figure, he helped me to become a better player, unlocked stuff in my brain that was sometimes stopping myself, things that are obvious but at 22 you’re trying to find out the player you can be.
“I had a natural talent in the way I was a striker, I tried to work a lot and train to make my game a bit better, but I used to go in his office and say: “When I run there when they’ve got the ball they don’t see me. He’d say: ‘Thierry, ask yourself the right question – do you think that guy can see you?’ I realized he couldn’t and I started to move and adapt my game to others. He had the way to make you believe you were the best player in the world, and then like I always say, gave you that freedom to go out and execute it.
“He gave you that believe that you go out there and execute it. As everyone knows, the understanding we had with him. We rowed a lot. I like to be right, he likes to be right, especially from me. To be honest, it’s difficult – when I was upset as a player, I’d get upset wherever I was. I always say though, to have an argument it’s for the good of the team. You argue with your dad, you argue with your mum, you argue with your brother.” Henry told Sky Sports News.
Wenger’s final two matches while still in charge of the Gunners will both come away from home, against Leicester City on Wednesday and Huddersfield Town on Sunday.