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Henry admits to screaming at & arguing with ‘father figure’ Wenger during iconic Arsenal spell

14:55 BST 11/06/2020
Arsene Wenger Thierry Henry
The Gunners’ all-time leading goalscorer saw a fellow Frenchman turn him into a fearsome frontman, but their working relationship was not perfect

Thierry Henry admits to having screamed at and argued with Arsene Wenger during his iconic spell at Arsenal, with the legendary French forward viewing a fellow countryman as a “father figure”.

A meteoric rise to prominence for Henry was enjoyed under the guidance of Wenger in north London.

The languid frontman was already a World Cup winner by the time he was snapped up by the Gunners, but his full potential had not been unlocked by Monaco or Juventus.

That is because he was often asked to fill a wide attacking role, with Arsenal the ones to transform him into a fearsome central striker.

Henry would leave English football for Barcelona in 2007 – briefly returning on loan in 2012 – as the Gunners’ all-time leading goalscorer and a two-time Premier League title winner.

Wenger was the man to get the best out of him, but a productive working relationship between two passionate Gallic characters did not always run smoothly.

Speaking as part of the A Fresh Perspective with Thierry Henry and Heineken campaign, an all-time great said of his former boss: “He was like a father figure for me. So, as you can imagine, with your dad, you argue, you scream, he punishes you. 

“Then, I want to show him the same relationship that you have with a dad: it’s complicated at times, sometimes it’s the best, sometimes we’re best friends, sometimes we’re worst enemies and we argue. 

“But that’s what happens when you love someone. Because you care, that’s why you argue. But I’ll tell you, there are two guys – since we’re mentioning Arsene. 

“Arsene triggered my brain, and every day, it was something about my brain, about asking myself the right questions. And then you have Pep [Guardiola], who tactically triggered my brain. 

“So those two guys had a massive impact on me, but I cannot, obviously, talk about my career without Arsene, because I think one of the most important things in the world, not only in sport, is to trigger the brain of someone, to stimulate the brain of someone every single day. 

“If not, it’s close to dying, if your brain is not functioning properly.”

Henry hit 226 goals in 369 appearances during his initial stint at Arsenal, with a further two efforts added to that record-setting tally after returning on loan from the New York Red Bulls.

He is forever immortalised outside Emirates Stadium in statue form and is currently looking to carve out another successful career in coaching with MLS side the Montreal Impact.