Arsene Wenger says Arsenal’s all-time leading scorer Thierry Henry claimed he did not “know how to score goals” when he was converted into a centre-forward.
Henry, who announced his retirement earlier this week, had arrived in North London from Juventus in 1999 after six disappointing months in Turin where he was largely ineffective playing on the wing.
With Davor Suker, Dennis Bergkamp and Nwankwo Kanu all ahead of him in the pecking order up front, Henry – who would go on to score a record 226 goals for Arsenal – initially had to settle for a bit-part role.
“At the start, when I brought him in from Juventus, my idea was to pair him with Nicolas Anelka,” Wenger told L’Equipe.
“But that summer, Anelka left to go to Real Madrid and the project had to be abandoned.
Once at Arsenal, Thierry didn’t get into the team straight away because there were a lot of players ahead of him in the attacking sector.
“Everything became easier when, one day, I decided to play him through the middle. He said to me, ‘Coach, I don’t know how to score goals.’
“You could say that he’s made fools of everyone,” Wenger said.
Henry has signed up for Sky Sports TV as analyst, though a return to Arsenal as a coach/manager has been suggested.