FA Cup - Wenger lauds Henry's dream return

Tue, 10 Jan 07:30:00 2012

Arsene Wenger admitted Thierry Henry's return to fire Arsenal into the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 1-0 win over Leeds was like a dream.

Thierry Henry, Arsenal v Leeds, January 9 2012 - 0

The Gunners' record goalscorer had rejoined the club he left for Barcelona in 2007 on a short-term loan deal from New York Red Bulls - and did not disappoint on his second debut when he came off the bench to slot home on 78 minutes as the resistance of the Championship club was finally broken.

Henry, 34, will be available for a six-week spell which will take in matches against Manchester United and, in the Champions League, AC Milan, possibly even the showdown with arch-rivals Tottenham on February 26. Wenger said: "It was a little bit of a dream, because it was a story about football you would tell some young children."

He added: "Unfortunately it is not often like that in our game, but sometimes it happens."

The Arsenal manager continued: "When he got in that position I thought 'oh, that's your angle', but it was a bit too close. That is where he surprised me. He still didn't force the shot, he still made it look easy. At the start I thought he was too much on the left, but he had that special finishing that he has shown tonight. That was the Thierry Henry finishing."

Only last month, Henry attended the unveiling of a bronze statue of himself outside Emirates Stadium as part of the club's 125th anniversary celebrations. The veteran World Cup winner never envisaged making such a fairytale return.

"I came back from holiday 15 days ago. I never thought I was going to play for Arsenal again or score a winner," Henry said on ESPN. I don't know what to say. I love the club and I hope I can do more. I hope it won't be the last one. The feeling I had when I scored was amazing."

Leeds manager Simon Grayson felt his battling side could take a lot of credit from tonight's performance.

"We defended well with good shape and desire, we had a fantastic attitude," he said. "It was probably written in the stars what was going to happen with Henry.

"Thierry has shown that class so many times, and you know he can do something out of nothing.

PA Sport

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