Thierry Henry: ‘After Arsène Wenger, I considered myself a football player’

Thierry Henry has been clear before that graduating from Clairefontaine does not guarantee an exceptional football career, but it does suggest intense promise. 

The French academy installs fierce competition in all its graduates, from the moment they begin trying out to join its now historic ranks. The school prides itself on a gruelling trial system that over weeks thins a crop of the 1000 best young children across France until there are only 23 kids left. Those 23 will be accepted into the school and from there will be given a unique sporting education. 

Despite leaving the school as one of the brightest futures in French football, Henry suggests that this experience was nothing compared to the tutelage of his manager Arsène Wenger. The French coach signed Henry from the academy into his AS Monaco team and later resigned him for Arsenal. A marriage with the London club left Henry deified; a living legend for the club with a statue built outside the stadium to immortalise his feats in the red and white. 

‘He made me see the game differently, to think differently’ – Thierry Henry

Speaking to Le Parisien, Henry points to these tutelages as the best he has received “He educated me about football and life. He made me see the game differently, to think differently.” He continues, “ Thanks to him, instead of doing what I wanted, I started to adapt my game to the specificities of my partners. And I kept that with me, wherever I went afterwards. After Arsène, I considered myself a football player who scored goals, not as a scorer. There is a big nuance.” 

GFFN | Nick Hartland

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