Thierry Henry, Arsenal Legend.
Voted the club’s all-time greatest player ahead of Dennis Bergkamp and Mr Arsenal Tony Adams, Thierry Henry is King.
228 ½ goals, seven trophies and too many individual awards to count.
A statue outside the Emirates.
Is there any better player to idolise than Thierry Henry?
YOU CAN BE MY HERO BABY
Theo Walcott clearly doesn’t think so.
He turned down reigning champions Chel$ki in 2006 to join the Gunners when Henry was in his pomp, citing his desire to “work with world class players every day”.
A young Walcott then spent the early years of his career studying his idol, modelling his finishing style on Henry’s iconic technique and even adopting the #14 shirt synonymous with the Frenchman.
Walcott is far from the only player to be somewhat star-struck in Titi’s presence – since he returned to English football in his new role for Sky, numerous Arsenal players have posted selfies of themselves with “the legend” – but he is clearly the one most influenced.
It’s easy to see why – like Henry, Walcott has searing pace and designs on moving centrally from the wide role he has played in the early part of his career.
SHARING THE LOVE
To a certain extent, the feeling is mutual – Thierry has spoken of Walcott’s potential and also shown a willingness to help the Englishman in his development, both during his first spell at the club and on his return.
Certainly Wenger is on record about the influence and improvement that Henry has brought in both his return to the club and his various spells training at London Colney to keep up his fitness in the MLS off seasons.
Walcott too has referenced the influence Henry’s spells back in England have had, in particular a 90 minute chat in January 2013 which was the “best hour and a half [he’d] ever had” and one which could change his career.
As he says, “when it’s [your] hero [you] listen extra hard.”
His hero, then, is back in and around the club, offering tips, informally coaching him in his preferred centre forward role and also openly supporting Arsenal.
Theo himself is playing for that same club, under the same manager and the great man is only ever a phone call or even a coffee away.
From Theo’s perspective then, there can be no better place to be right now than in and around Arsenal.
SIGN DA TING
Theo’s previous contract wranglings were well publicised before he finally signed a three-and-a-half-year deal which now expires in 18 months time, and Arsene has confirmed that the club have once again opened talks with one of Arsenal’s most important players.
With Henry back in the Gunners fold, and this time hopefully for good, it’s surely all but a certainty that Theo will sign on the dotted line sooner rather than later this time.
Any permanent role for Thierry would only seal the deal, and that can only be a matter of time.
So come on Theo, do us all a favour and sign da ting!