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By John Rojas
Thierry Henry has urged Arsenal supporters to keep the faith in the club's long-standing manager Arsene Wenger despite another disappointing end to the season in which the team failed to win any silverware.
The 33-year-old New York Red Bulls striker, who spent eight years at Arsenal helping them win two Premier League titles and three FA Cups, said that even though the team's sixth consecutive trophyless season had left him 'suffering', he feels his former manager is the man to lead the team back to glory.
In an exclusive interview with Goal.com, Henry said: "When you play for Arsenal there is always criticism. But I feel like any other fan. I’m like the rest of the team right now, I’m suffering.
"But we have to help and believe in that team. They had the potential to win this season, they've always been so close to winning but sometimes fall short. I think the team can do it and I hope that the boss [Wenger] stays because he is a very important person right there for that organisation."
Henry, who left Arsenal for Barcelona in 2007 said his heart still belonged to the north London club and is looking forward to playing against his former team in July's Emirates Cup friendly.
"It will be a good feeling. To see Arsenal’s people again, the employees who work there, the players, the fans, the boss.
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"But with the people... it's different, I love the people, the fans, the people who work there from the chef to the guy who takes care of the field."
Despite his nostalgia for Arsenal, Henry, who won both the World Cup and European Championship with France, says he is enjoying life in the MLS, where his New York Red Bulls side currently top the Eastern Conference.
"What I always say is that here [in MLS] we have a lot of good teams. The other day people thought that we were about to win easily the match against Chivas and we lost at home.
"In this league you never know, we have to work every Sunday or Saturday or whatever day the game is, we have to try to win. But teams -- here there are a lot of good clubs, good players. Teams in general are trying to play well. What I say is that it's too difficult to compare leagues. You can’t compare MLS with La Liga or Premier, but here the soccer level is good in general."
The Frenchman also says he has no plans to return to Europe and intends to end his playing career in the US.
"I’m happy here. I did what I had to do in Europe. I had the opportunity to win everything I played for in Europe, so I’m here in the USA, on an incredible team which is doing good things, trying to win its first title. So I’m happy to be here with them and if we can we are going to do that."
When asked whether he was considering a move into coaching, Henry responded: "To be honest, I don’t know yet. I have four years left and I’m going to try to finish them. I hope to win some titles. But after that I don’t know. Being close to soccer of course [that's my intention] because that is my passion, but even knowing that, I don’t know yet in what role."
|Arsenal had the potential to win this season. I hope that the boss [Wenger] stays because he is a very important person right there for that organisation
Looking back on his glittering career, Henry said there was no one moment or memory he cherished above others and was simply enjoying playing regular football.
"At my age… people used to asked me a lot about the World Cup title and all that. But with the years passing by, I mean... how can I say this? I could play then and I can play now. You know, to me going out to the field and playing is always the best moment.
"You know why? Because when you know you are at a more advanced age you want to enjoy that that much more. And in my career, I've had a lot of good moments and bad moments. Oh, the bad moments! Still, the best moment is always when you go out to the field and can perform."
Henry also said he enjoys the relative anonymity that playing in the US gives him, but insists he still feels the pressure to perform to a high standard.
"Well, the pressure I always say is there. It's necessary to have pressure because the sport is like that. Sometimes I create the pressure myself. So in that aspect there is no problem.
"Now, on the other hand, it is true that off the field we're more at peace because people don’t recognise us that much and we can walk, go out to the movies or eat quietly and that to be honest helps me a lot in order to live a better life."