Quick links


Is Arsenal legend Thierry Henry really ready for retirement?

Thierry Henry

With his New York Red Bulls contract soon expiring retirement rumours have been circling but Henry's recent displays suggest it shouldn't be an option.

With Thierry Henry showing he still has a great deal of magic left in his boots while leading the New York Red Bulls’ to a 1-0 friendly win over Arsenal on Saturday, recent talk of retirement may well prove premature.

His contract with the Red Bulls is set to expire at the end of the 2014 and the soon-to-be 37-year-old has remained tight-lipped on his future thus far, with the club’s head of global football Gerard Houllier stating that he believed the Frenchman was leaning towards calling it a career.

However, Henry himself moved to deny those claims following the weekend’s victory, stating that the talks would be held after the season, and the praise he received both from his head coach Mike Petke and former boss Arsene Wenger suggests it isn’t an option he should yet consider.

"Thierry is Thierry, you know? He opens up so much space for everybody," Petke told reporters after the match.

"His first step, I mean he’s playing against younger players, big time players Arsenal players and his first step is bringing it ahead of them. He still has it. His vision, unbelievable, his ability to create space and get open, all the things that are no secret, I’m just repeating what everybody in soccer already knows. He’s one of the best players to ever play and he still has it."

Asked whether he thought Henry was still playing at the top of his game, Petke was similarly enthusiastic about his captain’s recent form.

"Personally, absolutely," he said. "Do I think he can play for 90 minutes in the Premier League every week? I’m sure he would agree, probably not, but he still is 100 percent at that level, mentally and physically for large chunks of games, absolutely."

Having witnessed the best of Henry’s career at Arsenal, from his arrival in 1999 from Juventus to his departure in 2007 to Barcelona, Wenger echoed Petke’s sentiments, believing the Gunners’ all-time leading-scorer to still possess many of the qualities which made him one of the world’s most feared strikers.

"He played well [against Arsenal] and his teammates played very well as well," he said. "You could see that everybody was focused [and] ready for a fight. If they can maintain that kind of commitment and solidarity, and if they can keep Thierry Henry, in this form, I think they have a good chance to come back in a strong position in [MLS]."

Joining the Red Bulls in July 2010, Henry hasn’t quite produced to the same levels fans had expected during his five seasons in MLS, though he did prove instrumental in 2013 towards helping the team to their first-ever piece of silverware, picking up the Supporters’ Shield as the top side of the regular campaign.

The former World Cup-winner has also thrived so far in 2014 in a more creative role in the lineup, helping strike-partner Bradley Wright-Phillips top the league’s scoring charts with 10 assists in just 17 games, while being named an All-Star for the fourth successive season.

With the Red Bulls looking to enjoy a solid second-half as they bid for their fifth consecutive play-off appearance, a first MLS Cup would be great way for Henry to bow out, but that scenario is still a long way off at this point.

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch