Speaking to Sport 360, Thierry Henry could not resist the opportunity to take a playful jab at Patrick Vieira when asked about his former teammate’s appointment as New York City FC’s new head coach this week.
Vieira, who has been managing Manchester City’s Elite Development Squad since 2013, will take over the Premier League side’s MLS-based sister club from 1 January after signing a three-year deal to replace the outgoing Jason Kreis at the helm.
Henry played alongside his fellow Frenchman with the national team, winning both the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000, as well as at Arsenal between 1999 and 2005, and the former New York Red Bulls captain has already given him some insight into what he can expect in MLS.
However, given that Vieira will be coaching the Red Bulls’ city rivals, the Gunners legend was also quick to joke that his old friend is joining the wrong club.
“I usually watch the MLS because I played there. He went to the wrong team,” said Henry. “I’d hoped he would support the Red Bulls and not NYCFC but, at the end of the day, I just hope he has a good time there, a good career, and comes back to Europe with a lot of experience.
“New York is a great town,” he continued. “He is going to love that. He is going to be coaching some guys that I used played against, which will be funny. Hopefully, he can change the way that team is. It was a massive disappointment for them not to make the playoffs. I don’t know how they didn’t manage to do that, but they didn’t. So Patrick being there, hopefully it will be something great for him and who knows what will happen after.”
Henry spent four-and-a-half years at the Red Bulls after arriving from Barcelona in July 2010, recording 51 goals and 42 assists in 122 regular season appearances, while also helping the club win the 2013 Supporters’ Shield – their first-ever piece of major silverware.
Eventually retiring following the 2014 MLS campaign, the four-time All-Star has since followed Vieira into coaching back at Arsenal, where he has been working with the club’s Under-19 side this season.
The 38-year-old has even been tipped by former boss Arsene Wenger to take over at the Emirates one day, but he stressed that he is still not sure whether he wants to make the step up to management like his MLS-bound compatriot.
“I don’t know, man,” he added. “People do different things but I wish him all the very best, I think he deserves it and I am going to follow him.”