Arsene Wenger has indicated that Thierry Henry could return to Arsenal in a coaching role, and that he also has the attributes to succeed as manager.
The former France international is widely regarded as the greatest player ever to pull on the red and white shirt, due to his stunning performances from 1999 to 2007. During this time Henry led the Gunners to two Premier League titles and three FA Cups, winning numerous individual honours and becoming the top goalscorer in the club’s illustrious history.
A spell at Barcelona followed, helping them to two La Liga titles and a UEFA Champions League, and he is now seeing out his playing days in the MLS with New York Red Bulls. The 37-year-old returned to Arsenal for a short loan spell in 2012, but Wenger has now revealed the striker could return in a coaching capacity in the future on a possible road to management.
“It’s not impossible,” he said. “I welcome people who have played for us to come back but not [for just] an honorary job. It has to be a job that is available and one where you get up in the morning and do something. Has he the quality to be a manager? Yes… but he has to decide to sacrifice his life. When you’re a player, you think it’s so simple to be a manager.
“When you are a manager, you think it’s so complicated suddenly and if you’re not prepared for that you cannot survive. One quality that you need is resistance to criticism when you feel it’s not justified. I don’t know how he’ll handle that. He has to learn the job first. I have seen so many who have the qualities and they have not survived their first job because they are not ready.”
The most notable former Gunners player who went on to manage the club is George Graham, who made over 220 league appearances between 1966 and 1972 before returning as boss in 1986, winning two league titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups before his departure in 1995. Terry Neill, a player from 1959 to 1970, became the club’s youngest ever manager when he was appointed at the age of 34 in July 1976. The former Northern Ireland international was responsible for signing the likes of Pat Jennings, Malcolm McDonald and Charlie Nicholas during his time in charge, and he was the man who led the capital club to FA Cup glory against Manchester United in 1979. Don Howe, George Swindin, Jack Crayston, and Tom Whittaker are other post-war former players who would go on to manage the club.
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