Arsene Wenger has talked about France ‘misusing’ Thierry Henry – and while I haven’t found any direct quotes on Wenger directly saying that Henry’s current injury problems are France’s fault, what he has said does seem to imply it.
“I feel Henry has been badly managed by France.
After the World Cup final I gave him a holiday. France called him up less than 14 days after he came back – and they played him in the whole game.
It was a friendly, so why did they need to play him in the whole game? And he has played every friendly since, when he was already on his knees.”
In all fairness to Arsenal, Wenger has a solid basis for his statements – Domenech played Henry in 7 international games this season (3 of them friendlies) and has played him for 90 minutes in all but one of the games.
However, from France’s point of view, they wanted their best players for their games. Ehile you can harp on about the club vs country debate, both sides have valid points.
What interests me is the lack of admission that Arsenal themselves mismanaged Henry’s situation. He was played in the beginning of the season when it was clear that he was unfit. He was ‘brought back’ when he still lacked match practice. He was played in the PSV game when he was still unfit and needed a rest.
Ideally, Henry should have been rested for most of the season and used very sparingly. Shouldn’t Wenger and Arsenal hold their hands up and say that yes, we shouldn’t have played Henry this much?
The rest (5 months out) will do Henry good but ideally he shouldn’t play that much next season either – considering that he will be heavily involved in Euro 2008, Arsenal should use Henry very carefully so that he is fit enough to play after Euro 2008 for a couple of years more (and does not fall out of the game through injuries and exhaustion).