The enduring attraction of football comes from players who seek to play the game with artistry. Not artistry in the self conscious sense that can be associated with pretension of self agrandizement but artistry in the simple way that they mean to excite. As a fan football is at its most brilliant when players are aware of what they are doing and reveling in the emotions they excite and the things they can achieve. Thierry Henry did that constantly
At his peak Arsenal’s club record goalscorer was un-playable. Lightning quick with two brilliant feet the winger turned front man was imperious, a ballet dancer on the football field. After an inauspicious start to his career in which he promised much but delivered little he found himself isolated at Juventus. In stepped Arsene Wegner to change Henry’s position and instill him with the confidence that saw him change from ineffectual wide man to perhaps the greatest player in the history of the Premier league.
Henry played with the abandon of a youngster and the skill of an experience world class footballer. He rarely dived, showed anger and generally acted with good grace and humour. He was horribly cool, inspiring a generation of young footballers, myself included, to pull our socks up that little bit further and aim just that little bit higher with our play. His standard reactions to scoring was either a wide grin or chest thumping passion. It was his general wholesomeness that made his indiscretion against the Irish in the world cup play off so shocking.
His star never shone as brightly at Barca and perhaps English fans were lucky to see the peak of his career.
Ultimatley Thierry Henry played the game beautifully, and that’s why he’s my favourite player.
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