Is Thierry Henry Broken?

Thierry Henry. His name is one of the biggest names in world football. He became a worldwide icon with Arsenal of the English Premiership, and then he went on to win a plethora of trophies with F.C. Barcelona in Spain’s La Liga. After getting the heave-ho from Barcelona, the big moment came to Major League Soccer and the New York Red Bulls when Thierry Henry joined the club after the 2010 World Cup.

There was a lot of pomp and circumstance when he came over to MLS and made a big splash during the Barclay’s New York Challenge after he scored his first Red Bulls goal against a common foe when he faced Tottenham Hotspur late in the first half. Since that friendly he has registered only two goals in league play with a couple of assists. Not surprisingly, some have complained he doesn’t bring a workman’s attitude here like he did when he was playing in Europe.

Well that hasn’t been the case at all. He has been involved in the matches and he has been a good soldier. But as of right now maybe we are seeing a broken down Henry that no one expected. After admitting he was tired after coming over last summer, the start of this season hasn’t been fantastic either. He has looked promising during the pre-season, but when the regular season got started the nagging little injuries suddenly popped up.

During the home opener he already suffered a hamstring strain before Juan Agudelo was fouled in the area by the Seattle Sounders and didn’t take his penalty well. He missed the road match against the Columbus Crew, played against the Houston Dynamo and now, after the road loss to Philadelphia Union, he has suffered a slight achilles tendon strain. Is the soil different in the United States than in Europe? Are our physical trainers not as good as the ones in Europe? I can honestly say that is not the case.

Yet it’s getting very concerning that with four matches into the start of the 2011 New York Red Bulls season, this has become a problem. The supporters have already started to grow tired of Henry. If you go to certain forums and social media sites, there is plenty of disappointment going around. The “Same Old Metro” sign has been brought back and passed around once again. But as I have said on another story in the comments section, I’m not going to make an opinion on Thierry Henry until the end of April.

But the way things are going right now, that opinion might be a bit earlier than originally scheduled. It’s not about making excuses for such a world class player like Henry, it’s to look at the club as a whole and see where things are going. Two goals scored in four matches is concerning, but picking up five points in the first four games of the season isn’t. But I will admit that it should have been seven points before the gaffe against the Dynamo. Having the advantage on the percentage of possession is not a problem for this club. Right now it’s creating chances and the quality of those chances being converted.

That’s where things are for Thierry Henry at the moment. Two goals scored within fourteen matches played. There is a problem right now and hopefully these nagging injuries and bad luck can be erased quickly and before it really gets out of hand when the league is nearing the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

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37 Responses to Is Thierry Henry Broken?

  1. carella211 says:

    Problem with Henry is he’s a European star. And MLS isn’t set up for success for European talent. Look at Ljungberg. Or Beckham. While, yes, they’ve had moderate success, the fact that MLS allows such thuggish play to take place in it’s league, that hurts anyone who is used to playing the game the way it is supposed to be played. MLS is anti-technical skill and pro-wwe wrestling moves. And until MLS seriously cracks down on all the dirty tackles and rec-league fouls and so forth, anyone who comes here who has a scrap of talent and can play football properly, will not succeed to their fullest abilities. It’s past time MLS grew up.

    • Charles says:

      yeah either that or they ( the Euro Heroes ) are just getting it handed to them by better players.

      it is MLS’s fault….give me a break.

      Why is Zakuani and the rest of the college core succeeding so well ? I guess they must be part of the thugs !

    • kickit says:

      Wow, someone bashing the MLS on this site, I’m shocked. Juan Pablo Angel, Cuauhtemoc Blanco from Chicago, and others have succeeded in playing in the MLS. Go back to EPL and pretend you’re EURO snob.

      • Charles says:

        “Pretend you’re EURO snob”

        That may be the funniest and most perfectly accurate thing I have read on any soccer blog.

        • alaboston says:

          I think the “thug” term is a bit unfair. Is it more physical, yes. Thuggish? No. Let’s remember that Henry is older. And let us also remember that we are only 4 games into the season. Let’s wait until 1/2 was through before we completely panic.

    • Epic button says:

      I totally agree with you Charles and kickit are just ignorant mls fanboys who can’t see pass their blind passion for mediocre soccer. I blame mls mediocrity on the forced single entity parity on the leagues franchise clubs. I don’t care what garbage garber says one or two dps can’t bring up the level of 12 or 15 b rate players. Henry still has skill but he can’t play with 10 other players who just randomly kick the ball hoping one goes in. And I do believe mls has a agenda to fix the game to appeal to casual fans. Americans just can’t appreciate the simple beauty of strategic plays they have to see violence they have to see rough plays they have to have a show and the mls cartel knows that in order to attract them. Look at the results, look at all the ties at all the 1-0 s at all the times a team slaughters one team and they themselves get annihilated the next game. The way the league is set up gives us entertainment at the cost of quality. It hurts our league. The way the single entity parity is set up sends good domestic talent abroad and foreign talent refuses to come here. So kickit and Charles i hope you like mediocre soccer cuz the way I see it there will be more where that came from. And I bet your puny brain will only drive you to call me a euro snob and demand me to leave. Well I’ll admit it I am a euro snob and I’m not going anywhere. I’m a potential mls fan but mls refusing to play soccer the way it’s meant to be played is what’s keeping me from being a true mls fan

  2. Charles says:

    “nagging little injuries suddenly popped up”

    yeah, who would have predicted that he would be “injured” again. ME.
    IF he keeps getting crushed, look for more “injuries” to pop up again like last year.

    I give credit to Beckham, he is really out of his league in many ways out there, but he keeps going rather than quitting. He focuses on what he is good at and he is successful because of it.

  3. Danielle says:

    Nice to see you’re not yet giving in to panic. Henry has been buried so many times already only to come through in the end. Will be exciting to watch once more.

  4. Dave C says:

    A few things:

    I don’t know if it’s right to say “Barca gave him the heave-ho.” He left at the end of his contract – that’s not the same as being fired, transferred or “settled” out of a deal.

    Are our physical trainers not as good as the ones in Europe? I can honestly say that is not the case.
    How do you know this? I’m not saying you’re wrong, but if you’re confidently claiming that physical trainers in MLS are as good as in Europe, then you should back it up. Are you a professional in the field of sports medicine? Have you played at a high-level in both continents, or have some other form of inside-knowledge? If not, it’s a bit of a weird thing to say.

    I think Henry has been going down-hill since about 2005. The last few years at Arsenal were marred by ongoing injury problems, and I think they made the right decision to let him go. By all accounts from Gunners fans, he was actually cramping their style when he did play in the last season or so. At Barca he did well, but I think this was because he was in a dominant team that could mask his deterioration, and also because the team did not rely on him to play as much.

    • Anonymous says:

      Shut up.

      • Anonymous says:

        No YOU Shut up.

      • Clampdown says:

        I’m puzzled by this response. Dave brings up good points that are worth considering.

        I’m not giving up on Henry yet. The continual string of injuries is cause for concern, and I’m sure it frustrates him as well. It’s a little early to be judging him this season, or for making any judgments on just about anything in MLS.

    • Daniel Feuerstein says:

      Dave C said: He left at the end of his contract

      He was forced out because Pep Guardiola didn’t use him any more. If that’s not getting the Heave-Ho, I don’t know what is.

      About the physical trainers, it’s not meant to be serious. But you took it serious which is a concern.

      • Clampdown says:

        It’s not meant to be serious? Then what’s the point?

      • Dave C says:

        Hmm…as clampdown says, if you weren’t serious, why say it? Was it supposed to be some kind of joke? Because you seemed to be saying with some deadpan certainty that you can honestly say that MLS trainers are no worse than European trainers?

        ps I’m no expert on the matter, but I imagine that it might actually be the case the MLS trainers are worse, for a few simple reasons:
        (1) In the US, the best trainers (in sports in general) are probably attracted towards specializing in the other sports, where the money is bigger.
        (2) Soccer culture isn’t as big in the US, so to be a for those trainers who do specialize in soccer, maybe there isn’t as much competition for the top jobs.
        (3) MLS players play fewer games than other leagues, so perhaps there isn’t the same incentive to keep players in peak condition.

        Also, maybe because the off-season is longer, this might actually be detrimental to player’s bodies?

        Anyway, like I say, I’m no expert so I’m just throwing out ideas. Feel free to shoot me down. Or just tell me to shut up, like Anonymous did.

      • Dave C says:

        On the subject of Henry being given the heave-ho, I take that back – I realize his contract actually still had some time to run. I think I’ve been corrected on this issue before on MLS Talk, but I guess I never learn…

  5. Johnny V says:

    yea it seems all these big eruropean stars come to the MLS and just really suck!! Compare to Mexican and South American Internationals that have a succesful time in the MLS, and we waste less money on them than the Eruropean snobs we bring over.

    • jaelle says:

      Henry is no snob, he loves the US and loves NYC – that remark is a reflection of your own personal bigotry than anything about Henry or any Europeans.

      I’m a huge Henry fan, a gooner, and was worried from the start that he would not in fact do well in the MLS. Not because of anything to do with American soccer but because anyone who watched him in his last season at Barca saw that he’d totally lost any effectiveness. He’s lost not just his physical speed but his speed of thought & reaction. He does try hard, he even tracks back, helps out in defense as much as he can. But nothing’s going right for him. For me, it’s painful to see.

      In each game I watch I keep hoping to see him put in a terrific performance, even w/o scoring a goal. But nothing’s working right for him.

      • Johnny V says:

        yea my comment was a bit too offensive to the Eruropean players. am also a henry fan, but the Henry we have now is not playing well, it seems at times that hes just here to collect a paycheck. I know hes old but common!! he does not even show flashes of his young self. Am also hoping that he shows what hes really all about, cause this guy is exciting to watch when he is on!

  6. edi says:

    Henry GO BACK we don’t need you here

  7. Voodoo says:

    Two points worth making:

    1. Henry is in the end of his career and it’s natural that he gets injured a lot. It’s to be expected.

    2. He’s bagged two in four games, that’s a very good ratio for a striker.

  8. Brittany says:

    Um, how is 2 goals in 4 games concerning? It’s not like he’s 22 years old anymore. What is concerning is his injuries. Scoring goals shouldn’t be a concern.

  9. Ben says:

    Wait, a 33 yr old striker has scored 2 goals in 4 games and you’re complaining? Do you know who Fernando Torres is? I watched the match against Philadelphia and I noticed how the wingers couldn’t even cross the ball or put Henry through on goal. How can a striker score if no one can cross the ball or pass properly?

  10. larry red bull says:

    I think jaelle is 100 percent correct. Also, the quality of service to Henry may not be as good. And where are the midfielder who can shoot 18 to 25 yards out, to pull the defenders out..and where are the midfielders breaking down defenses for NYRB. I only see Lindpere making those 1 v 1 moves. And don’t expect Dane Richards ever to make a great pass or cross, never has, never will. I hope Henry can assess where he is at this year and if he is not Henry, retire, cancel the contract and begin his managing career here at NYRB as an assistant and then coach in Europe eventually, I hope, but you know, Europe is racist and very rarely hire black coaches.

  11. Troy says:

    Henry is clearly frustrated and sporting some injuries. His unsportsmanlike kicks to the shins/ankles of other players is really troubling also and is likely related to his scoring woes. That said, I believe his desire to perform for us here in NY and haven’t given up on the guy so early in the season. He’s a class-act player in most circumstances and even on his worst day he is one of the best in the MLS.

  12. Sgc says:

    THE TEAM has 2 goals in 4 games. Henry has scored none of them. He’s even bricked a penalty.

  13. Charles says:

    Everyone. Henry does have two goals in four games, however it is the other 10 games he didn’t score in that is the concern. 😉

    I do think this will kill the market for high price for ex-Euro Heroes. MLS is a very difficult league.
    IF you don’t believe that at this point you have to be thinking you are on a dangerous slope to MLS hater troll.

    I don’t profess to know where the cut off is. For example, where does a starter at a middle level EPL team fit in ? He obviously fits in…..
    but after watching Landon play there, I don’t think they dominate in any way, shape or form. So now you are left with how much do you pay someone like that who can’t sell jerseys like Henry and Beckham ? Not much, when I can get similar out of college at a LOT less cost.

    • SSReporters says:

      Your arguments are atrocious and your obsession with treating the MLS as a world class league cloud the occasionally good points you make.

      The league quality isn’t the problem. Henry is just old and over-the-hill. It’s all for TICKET sales, it has nothing to do with improving team play. It’s all about increasing attendance.

      • Sgc says:

        You’re wrong to over-simplify it that way. Henry was expected to sell tickets, of course, but he’s nowhere near as famous as Beckham, and the whole thing falls apart as an investment if they don’t also win trophies. There’s a huge imperative in NY, and everyone in the organization understands it. That’s why they’re basically the first team in MLS history to see the local reporters go into panic mode after only 4 games.

        • Charles says:

          I read Beckham sold 600,000 jerseys, so far Henry 40,000.
          Henry still has a few years, but it would be hard, the way it is going, to see him selling 600,000

          • Dave C says:

            I don’t think even the most naive/optimistic marketing man would ever have dreamt that Henry would have sold the same volume of shirts in the US as Beckham could. Like him or loathe him, Beckham is pretty unique in the level of recognition he has amongst even non-sports fans.

      • Charles says:

        I realize it is a free market ( just had to throw that in there to tick off the MLS Hater-trolls ) and teams need to make money but in many ways getting Henry in the league hurts what MLS is trying to do….draw long term fans.

        For example, I saw a quote from Beckham today, he says the quality of the league is improving a lot, especially over the last couple of years. The name he drops at the end of the comment, “like bringing Henry into the league”

        Are you kidding me ? The same team that has added Ream and Agudelo and you bring up Henry as improving the quality ? Obviously that is going to bother me, because I think MLS gets discounted WAY too much, but I don’t know how anyone can disagree with me on this.

        Anyone that has watch a Red Bulls game in the last 3/4s of a year knows that Henry has done nothing to improve MLS quality. NOTHING.
        It becomes a distraction to the great things that are happening in MLS.

      • Charles says:

        Man….tried to post and didn’t go…hope I don’t dupe.

        SSReporters, let me ask you something.

        I am “guilty” of thinking that MLS is a World Class League.
        But everytime anything happens to prove it, it is immediately discounted by everyone. Maybe some should be discounted. KC- Man U IS a friendly after all. Very little credit for Landon crushing it at Everton probably shouldn’t be discounted.

        So if Salt Lake wins CCL, is MLS a World Class League ?

        I say they win, but if they don’t they are capable of doing so….only Epic Button types, who think Ream and Agudelo are holding Henry back would probably disagree.

        IF not that then what ? Average pay being a million a year ? Average stadium holding 30k + ? Or can only leagues that have a mega team qualify ?

  14. James says:

    His play just looks rather tentative to me. He’s not really taking on defenders or looking to shoot very much and seems to want to be a #10 instead of a #9. I think somebody needs to remind Thierry Henry that he’s Thierry Henry.

    • Dave C says:

      I think if we’re talking about traditional/typical positional roles, Henry has never been either a stereotypical #9 or a #10, he’s always been something entirely his own.

  15. OZi says:

    The stars of yesteryear – Henry, Beckham and Ljunberg – were well past their prime when they joined the MLS. And while some Euro greats performed, and continue to perform, admirably in their own leagues well past optimal age – think Del Piero, Giggs, Scholes, Inzaghi, Totti etc. – it’s understandably difficult to adjust to a league which adheres to a different footballing ethos and philosophy. Whatever be their motive for joining the MLS, you can not deny with age and games your performance is bound to slip. Is this too difficult to understand?

  16. dan says:

    it seems simple to me what you do now, REST THE MAN!
    I think they are putting too much pressure on him and him on himself to play as much as possible when he needs to resolve these injuries! In Barca and Arsenal their was plenty of talent so he wasn’t forced to play with a knock, plus he was younger. You don’t recover as fast when your older.

    WE ARE BRINGING THESE TALENTS AT OLD AGE AND EXPECTING THEM TO PLAY AS THEY DID WHEN THEY WERE 25. ITS NOT POSSIBLE! Henry is still one of the best technical players but you can’t expect him to play like he did back in Arsenal, you can’t expect any player to do that! those that do are the exceptions.

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