Henry eyes Giggs, Bergkamp blueprint
Thierry Henry believes Arsenal will see a different player from the one who spearheaded their trophy march when he makes a dramatic return to action against Leeds United in Monday night's FA Cup tie. The 34-year-old former captain has rejoined the Gunners on a short-term loan deal from New York Red Bulls ahead of the new Major League Soccer season, which will see him available for games against Manchester United, AC Milan and possibly even the visit of Tottenham Hotspur on February 26.
Henry became Arsenal's record all-time marksman during eight trophy-laden campaigns with the club before leaving to join Barcelona in 2007, and last month he was honoured with a bronze statue outside the Emirates Stadium. However, the 1998 FIFA World Cup France™ winner accepts he "is not 25 any more" and is not about to take on an entire team single-handedly, as he did regularly when at the height of his powers.
Henry said: "I remember Dennis [Bergkamp] and he used to be the main front guy. Suddenly he was playing behind the striker and if you have the awareness to see things before players, you can get away with not having your legs.
"If you look at Ryan Giggs [now], it is not the same Ryan Giggs who used to take the ball from the wing and dribble past everyone and deliver a great cross. But what Ryan Giggs has is he can see the game, he is always available, he puts himself in a position where he can receive the ball alone and then you will never lose your touch. That is what I am going to try to bring to this team if I have to play.
"Right from the start, as I said, it looks more like I am going to be a bench player, or maybe not on the bench but more of an out-of-the-side type of player. I can definitely have some input out there, to talk to the guys and let them know what it means to win. I am a competitor and that will never leave my body. I am just going to help those guys get through some difficult moments.
"If you ask anybody involved with Arsenal Football Club or anybody that loves it, 'can you help this team?' Whatever it is; five seconds, five minutes, ten minutes, being in the dressing room trying to have some input of what you know and what you have learned - it was a no-brainer."
Another important factor in Henry's decision to rejoin his old club was he would not overshadow the achievements of the current group, which has recovered from a terrible start to drag themselves back in contention for the Premier League top four and into the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.
"When the boss spoke to me about coming back, I wanted to make sure I didn't disturb the team that was in place," Henry explained. "That was important to me. I am a fan, don't forget that.
"The team did something incredible to come back to where they are right now. We are far from the first position, but if you talk about what the team has done since [losing 8-2 at] Manchester United, they have done pretty well."
Wenger believes Henry can only deepen his legend during these coming weeks. The Arsenal manager said: "I expect him to make the impact every good player can have.
"He can score goals, he has shown that - 226 in 370 games - and he is a good player. What you want is for him to help us win the games."