Henry was thoroughly impressed by the performance of Payet, who struck in the 89th minute to hand France victory in their Euro 2016 opener with Romania.
France's Dimitri Payet celebrates after the game
Thierry Henry has told BBC Sport that the disappointment of missing out on an appearance at the 2014 World Cup was the main driver in Dimitri Payet's impressive performance for France, who opened their Euro 2016 campaign with a 2-1 win over Romania on Friday.
The West Ham United midfielder was on hand to produce a stunning trademark strike one minute from time to hand Les Bleus victory over a plucky Romania side, who had previously drawn level after Bogdan Stancu's spot kick cancelled out Olivier Giroud's second-half header.
Payet, who became the first French player to score and provide an assist at a European Championship match since the former Arsenal striker in 2000, was visibly emotional at the end of the game, with television cameras catching the 29-year-old wiping away several tears.
And Henry, a World Cup and European Championship winner with his country, claims that Payet's dominant performance was driven by a determination to prove himself on the international stage, having missed out on a place in France's last World Cup squad.
He told BBC Sport: "Payet thought he was going to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. He was involved in every qualifying game but they took that away from him.
France's Dimitri Payet celebrates after scoring their second goal with Olivier Giroud
"Tonight you saw a man who was hurt. He was saying with that performance, 'you didn't take me to the World Cup and I am going to show you'. He wanted every single ball. You can't win a game by yourself. but that strike... oh my gosh.
"No one is going to take what is happening to him now away from him. He showed tremendous desire. He was the one that drove the team forward."
France boss Didier Deschamps will be hoping Payet can continue his rich vein of form for the rest of the tournament, with their second Group A game against Albania coming up on Wednesday.