MONACO, Monaco, Feb 18 – Thierry Henry has the qualities to be a successful manager despite his disappointing short spell at Ligue 1 strugglers Monaco, his former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said on Sunday.
The 69-year-old Frenchman said Henry could not have taken the Monaco job at a worse time in October when they were already on a poor run and by the time January came around the alarm bells were ringing.
Henry, who was one of the stars of the Gunners side that enjoyed huge success under Wenger including the ‘Invincibles’ side of 2003/04 when they went through the league season unbeaten, guided Monaco to just two league wins in 15 matches.
The 41-year-old was then sacked last month.
“In our job, it’s one thing when you start the season, even if it doesn’t go well, you have six months,” said Wenger.
“If you arrive in October and the team is in a very bad position, you have three months.
“Because in January, everybody starts to become nervous, and things could go very badly.
“So you have less time when you arrive in the middle of the season, that’s what happened to Thierry.
“So how he bounces back will be very important, I believe he has the quality and the desire to make a career, and the career is judged on a longer period.”
– ‘A loss for Arsenal’ –
Wenger, who was speaking at a Laureus Sport for Good presentation, said luck played a large part in whether or not a manager succeeds and he said Henry, and another of his former stars at Arsenal, Patrick Vieira, who is in charge of Ligue 1 side Nice, will need that.
“I started my job at 33 years of age and I had plenty of very promising people around me,” said Wenger.
“Many of them disappeared and some survived. Why? We need luck and we need to work hard but it’s always very difficult to predict the career of a manager because we depend a lot on the quality of the players, the quality of the clubs and the quality of the confidence we get.
“Both (Henry and Vieira) have the qualities and I wish both make a great career.”
Wenger also bemoaned the impending departure from Arsenal of another of his long-serving players, Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey.
The 28-year-old is to join Serie A outfit Juventus in July, ending 11 years at the Premier League club where he was signed as a teenager by Wenger.
“It will be a loss for Arsenal,” said Wenger. “I must say it will be an interesting move for Ramsey.
“He is a player who is great going forward. His main quality is he can keep the final ball and he makes interesting runs from deep.
“You don’t find many players today who can make midfield runs off the ball. It will be an interesting addition for Juventus.”
Laureus — whose two days get together in Monaco climaxes with their awards on Monday — is a global movement that aims to use the power of sport to tackle social challenges in the world.