Thierry Henry believes he still has a lot to learn before he can consider returning to the game as a coach.
The 37-year-old former Arsenal striker yesterday announced his retirement, having left the New York Red Bulls after the MLS season, and will return to London to take up a new role working in the media with Sky Sports.
There was speculation Henry may look to continue his playing career at Arsenal, for whom he is the club-record goalscorer.
However, Henry revealed a second “comeback” was never really on the agenda, although he remains keen to continue his links with the north London club as he embarks on his first steps into a new career.
“I love the game, and still think I can give a lot to the game. I am retiring now, but not involved with any team, so in the meantime, why not give back to the game on TV?” he said.
“It has been a hard decision, because you are leaving the game you love behind, waking up, training and playing big games... but you are not going to do that on a daily basis.
“But I am at peace with what I have done in the game, I have no regrets, I always think things happen for a reason.
CONNECT WITH THE SCOTSMAN
• Subscribe to our daily newsletter (requires registration) and get the latest news, sport and business headlines delivered to your inbox every morning
“You kind of never leave Arsenal Football Club. People want to know about the playing side, but we did not talk too much about that – how many comebacks do you make? At one point it will turn out to be a bad movie. We all love the first Rocky, but then I don’t know about the last one!”
Henry continued: “I don’t have the pretension to know right now if I can be a good coach or not, but the desire is there, we will see.
“First and foremost, you want to learn about the game, because you know the game, it does not mean you can teach it or see the game the same way when you are on the other side, being able to deal with egos, preparing a season, handling a defeat.
“I knew how to handle it before, because if I played well in the next game, it was okay, but as a manager, it is not the same thing. The desire is there, but we will see what is going to come next. Like I have said so many times, first and foremost, I just want to learn.”
Tributes inevitably poured in for Henry yesterday from across the world of football.
Laurent Blanc, the current Paris St Germain manager who played alongside Henry in France’s 1998 World Cup-winning squad, said the next generation of French footballers will struggle to comprehend just how much the striker achieved.
“He was a very, very good player,” said Blanc. “It’s very hard for children of today to imagine just how much Thierry Henry did across his football career. He did an enormous amount – with the French team but of course, most of all, with Arsenal.”
Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville – now a colleague of Henry’s at Sky Sports – said: “We were blessed in this country to see Thierry playing at his peak, potentially one of the greatest players in the world and even if you supported another team you couldn’t help but enjoy watching him play.”
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND IPHONE APPS