From the publishers of THE HINDU
VOL.35 :: NO.04 :: Jan. 26, 2012
When Thierry Henry rejoined Arsenal there were fears in some quarters that his legacy could be damaged but the striker has already delivered an emphatic response to the doubters.
Just recently the Frenchman was in tears outside the Emirates Stadium as the London club unveiled a statue of him and just a few weeks later he was scoring the winning goal in his second debut against Leeds in the FA Cup.
When Henry returned to London to train with the Gunners after the MLS season finished he could surely not have envisaged running out in the red shirt at the Emirates Stadium.
But Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger offered the 34-year-old a short-term deal with the English Premier League club and that move has already paid dividends.
With Arsenal being held to a goalless draw by Championship side Leeds, the Emirates Stadium erupted as Henry was summoned to come off the bench — but the real drama was still to come.
The former Barcelona striker found space in the channel as he has done so many times down the years and after being picked out with an inviting pass, he took a touch before producing a trademark clinical finish.
That prompted emotional celebrations from the veteran frontman, who was almost lost for words when interviewed after the game.
“I never thought I was going to play for Arsenal again or score a winner,” Henry said. “I love the club and I hope I can do more. I hope it won't be the last one. The feeling I had when I scored was amazing.”
He added: “I rejoined the club as a fan; before I wasn't. Scoring a goal when you support the team, now I know how some of the guys who played for Liverpool or Man United or Chelsea felt when they scored a goal for the club they support. When it comes to Arsenal something happens with me, sometimes in a bad way, but most of the time in history in a good way.”
The signing could prove to be a masterstroke from Wenger, who has turned around Arsenal's fortunes after a poor start to the season.
Wenger could not hide his delight after watching Henry make a goalscoring return. “It was a little bit of a dream, because it was a story about football you would tell some young children,” he said.
“Unfortunately it is not often like that in our game, but sometimes it happens. He had that special finishing that he has shown. That was the Thierry Henry finishing.”
The wily Wenger has revealed that Henry's loan move from New York Red Bulls could be extended to eight weeks and it would be no surprise if that came to fruition.
Eyebrows were raised when Wenger moved to bring Henry back to his beloved club and while the striker is revelling in a dream return to the club. For EPL defenders, on the other hand, it could be something of a nightmare.
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