Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen is full of praise for the impact Thierry Henry has made at the Emirates Stadium during his loan spell with the club.

The former French international and club legend moved back to north London from the New York Red Bulls in January, and has scored three goals for the club in just six appearances.

It’s not just on the pitch that the Gunners’ club-record goalscorer has made a telling contribution over the last two months though, and Vermaelen is appreciative of the efforts made by the 34-year-old.

"He has a big influence on the players. He is a leader: he talks a lot in the dressing room," the Belgian international told the official Arsenal website.

"He has a lot of experience and because we have a lot of young players and he has that experience, he talks to them a lot."

Henry’s last appearance during the second-coming is scheduled for tonight, when Arsenal travel to face AC Milan in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie.

And manager Arsene Wenger admits he will be disappointed to see the player leave following the match at the San Siro, although admits it’s only right that the Red Bulls get their player back in good time for the start of the MLS season in March.

"We wanted to keep him for two weeks longer but it wasn’t possible. Thierry is captain of their team and they start the championship in two weeks," added the manager.

"It is difficult for a player to come the day before the championship starts when he is captain of the club and has not played at all with the team in pre-season.

"I believe that it was just common sense. I am OK with that because I accepted that agreement at the start."

Topics:
Arsenal
Football
Thomas Vermaelen
Premier League
UEFA Champions League
Thierry Henry