Football

Thierry Henry must not rush into management career

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If Arsene Wenger says something is going to happen at Arsenal it will inevitably happen. He has the power to force decision through that board members may not agree with. He has earned that blind faith, just as the man who will one day stand beside him in the dugout has.

The Arsenal boss said Thierry Henry would eventually return to the club where he has been immortalised by a statue that sits outside their still-fresh Emirates Stadium. The striker has reportedly been offered a coaching role in the Arsenal academy, starting on a road which most Gunners fans hope ends with him succeeding his long-standing compatriot.

Henry requires hands-on experience to qualify for Uefa coaching qualifications and he has already contributed enough to Arsenal's history to have a free run at the Hale End academy. The fact that this is newsworthy, which it is, suggests that Arsenal fans are excited with the prospect of Henry becoming their new manager.

Fallen giants

However, while Henry was one of the best players the Premier League has ever seen, there is little to suggest he would be a competent manager. The roles have surprisingly few transferable skills. It is why today's best managers – Jose Mourinho and Wenger to name a few – have little experience at the top end of the game.

It is why the best player that has ever been, Diego Maradona, has failed to establish himself as a tactician. Some just are not cut out for it and it is impossible to predict exactly who will make it.

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Sentiment doesn't work

One thing is for sure: hiring someone for the sentiment, for the extra motivation a cult figure can bring, has rarely gone down well. Just ask Alan Shearer, whose only legacy in management was overseeing the shock relegation of his beloved Newcastle United.

Ray Parlour suggested Henry could be Arsenal manager one day. The Mail chose to take this as his admission that he could directly replace Wenger. At 65-years-old, Wenger is unlikely to go on for more than five years before calling it a day, if not, less.

But Henry is going to need at least a decade to refine his skills before taking on such a role. There needs to be patience on this front with not even Henry himself seemingly set on a career in football's back room.

A new career

It is a new career with a completely different skill set required. In Wenger, Henry could have one of the best mentors available, giving him every chance of making it as a manager. Whether he could ever be mentioned in the same breath as Wenger is still as unclear as the picture above.

If he is rushed into the role, possibly replacing Wenger at the end of his current contract, it will only serve to damage his reputation as Arsenal's treasure.

For now, reports of Henry's fledgling coaching career should be muted. It only adds to the already heightened expectation and pressure. If he makes it, we won't see him in a major role before the end of the decade.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Arsenal
Arsene Wenger
Thierry Henry

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