Thierry Henry: Managing Arsenal Would Be a 'Dream Come True'

Thierry Henry
Arsenal's Thierry Henry celebrates at the final whistle after his goal helped to beat Leeds United in their FA Cup soccer match at the Emirates Stadium in London, January 9, 2012. Eddie Keogh/ REUTERS

Former Arsenal, Barcelona and France International player Thierry Henry has said he dreams of returning to Arsenal as coach, after ending his career as a proffessional football player yesterday and signing a lucrative deal to become a pundit with Sky Sports.

Asked by The Telegraph newspaper if he would like to manage his old London club, Henry answered: "That would be a dream come true, but that's not how it works.

"You have to prove yourself first, you have to learn first. You need to be able to understand what it is to be a manager," Henry told the British broadsheet.

While the 37-year-old's new TV career will see him flex his analytic muscles on a weekly basis, his job on the Sky Sports pundit team will also leave him enough time to get his coaching badges which he hopes to do under the guidance of Arsenal manager and personal mentor Arsene Wenger.

"The plan is to start my badges and I guess Arsenal will help me. To pass your badges, you have to work closely with a club and I would like to think it is going to be Arsenal."

Henry will have two of the best managers in the game to call on for advice, having been managed by Arsene Wenger at Arsenal and Pep Guardiola at Barcelona.

"When you mature, you see things and understand things differently, and you know to be calmer and put your message out there," Henry says.

The English Premier League's racism watchdog, Kick It Out has welcomed Henry's decision to return to English football and encouraged his desire to manage at the highest level, hoping it would help make the sport more diverse at the highest level.

"We are pleased to hear Thierry Henry will be taking his coaching badges and has aspirations of becoming the manager of his former club Arsenal," Paul Mortimer, Kick It Out's professional players engagement manager said.

"Thierry has a huge stature within the game and his comments will hopefully encourage more people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds and under-represented communities to pursue careers in coaching and management," Mortimer added.

Notoriously the there are few black managers in English football and currently the top flight has none.

"We need to see greater diversity across all of football's workforce with clear, transparent and fair recruitment processes in place, so that those holding the necessary qualifications and experience have the opportunity to apply for positions on a level playing field," Mortimer said.

Gordon Taylor chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association blasted the FA earlier this year for not granting greater opportunity to black managers as only two teams out of 92 currently have black managers.

"I can give you a list of black players who've become coaches, who've got their A licence, who've got their B licence, who've gone all the way up the ranks, they've got the pro-licence and aren't getting opportunities. So I know for a fact they've got that merit but there is a hidden racism that seems to hold clubs back," Taylor told the Guardian in October.