Wenger: Henry can be a manager

The Gunners record goalscorer was on Friday one of three club

legends to be honoured with a commemorative statue as part of their

125th anniversary celebrations, with former manager Herbert Chapman

and also captain Tony Adams, who led Wenger’s men to the double

twice, each receiving a similar tribute. Henry – who left for

Barcelona in June 2007, where he would go on to lift the Champions

League before moving to the Major Soccer League in the United

States with New York Red Bulls – has been back at Arsenal to keep

up his fitness levels. Wenger feels like many of his former

players, the 34-year-old – who netted 226 goals as the Gunners won

two Premier League titles and the FA Cup twice – can make the

transition into the dugout when he eventually hangs up his boots.

“I must say, many players I have managed have qualities to be

managers. Patrick [Vieira] or Thierry can all be managers,” said

Wenger. “But let him first be a player – his career is not over.

After that you have to learn the job. “It is like any other job.

You need to learn the team, how to handle people. “You do not stop

being a player and become a manager the next day. It doesn’t work

like that. “It is a different life from a player. You have to

dedicate your life to the team. Players have to make that choice.”

Wenger was himself not an outstanding player, and worked his way up

through the coaching ranks with Nancy, Monaco and Nagoya Grampus

Eight in Japan before being a then somewhat controversial

appointment at Arsenal in September 1996. The 62-year-old accepts

“there are many ways to do it”, but that perhaps being parachuted

into a top job purely because of your playing status may not always

be beneficial. “To go in straight away under massive pressure is

maybe not the best way of getting used to dealing with the

players,” Wenger said. “It will be him to decide. I encourage every

player who has a positive philosophy to be a manager. They can

bring something positive to do the game. They can influence

people’s lies in a positive way. “It is a choice that has to come

from deep inside.” Wenger – who has a bronze bust of himself

already in place at Emirates Stadium – added: “It is a good base to

be a great player, but there are many other ingredients. I do not

rule it out. They can be great managers.”