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Wherein Thierry Henry proves thoughtful, cooperative

Former Arsenal player Thierry Henry watches the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Queens Park Rangers at the Emirates Stadium in London

Former Arsenal player Thierry Henry watches the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Queens Park Rangers at the Emirates Stadium in London December 31, 2011. Henry is close to rejoining Arsenal on loan for two months if insurance arrangements can be agreed with his club the New York Red Bulls, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said on Friday. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR “LIVE” SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS

REUTERS

Earlier this week, I got after Red Bulls star striker Thierry Henry a little. Not much, really, just a minor journalistic swat across the butt for not being bigger after his team’s loss.

I added the proper context, that Henry is a competitive individual whose side had lost its season opener. I never expected Henry to joyously embrace interview opportunities, only to do his share and not be obtuse about it. Still, some people disagreed, feeling that Henry (or any athlete) enjoys the right to button up at will. We can agree to disagree on that.

So what did I want, exactly, from Henry? How about something like this:

It was more difficult for us in the first half, because they were putting pressure and I don’t think we did pretty well to come out from the back on the ground. So in the second half I decided to drop and get the ball. It’s not what I wanted to do, but if I don’t, sometimes I don’t see the ball up there.

See? That’s quality, thoughtful analysis. It’s from Dave Martinez’s comprehensive report, over at Ives Galarcep’s Soccer By Ives, on Henry’s helpful and astute comments following Thursday’s Red Bulls practice. Henry has plenty to say about what his team can do to improve, about this week’s match against Real Salt Lake, etc.

The man is no dummy. He knows the game, clearly. You don’t become a legend at fabled Arsenal without knowing how many players to put on the field.

Maybe it’s too much to ask for Henry, or anybody, to be so cooperative, forthcoming and analytical in the foggy, semi-furious aftermath of a loss. Especially one where such costly mistakes are made. Then again, Henry is paid a whole bunch of money … and he clearly has it in him to help supporters understand.