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Thierry Henry on ISL, Wenger, Pep

By Norma Godinho
Last updated on: October 27, 2016 12:35 IST
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'You have to have a good coach to direct you on the right path.'
'I had Arsene and Pep in my professional career, but I was lucky to have good coaches in my younger days.'
Rediff.com's Norma Godinho listens to Thierry Henry.

Thierry Henry at an event in Mumbai on Wednesday

IMAGE: Thierry Henry at an event in Mumbai on Wednesday, October 26, 2016. All photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

Arsenal legend Thierry Henry was among the early marquee names discussed to participate in the inaugural edition of the Indian Super League in 2014.

While he could not be lured to India, his former teammates -- Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg -- came to the ISL and did well as marquee players for FC Goa and Mumbai City FC respectively.

The former Arsenal striker and now assistant coach of the Belgian national team believes the arrival of stars from world football can give a fillip to Indian football.

"It helps massively when you have such people in the league," Henry said.

Since its inception in 2014, the ISL has attracted soccer stars like Zico, Roberto Carlos, Lucio, Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg, David Trezeguet, Alessandro Del Piero, Elano Blumer, Helder Postiga, Adrian Mutu and Nicolas Anelka.

Henry wanted to see young Indian players come through the ranks and rub shoulders with the best.

"What helps more is if you can develop young Indian players who can play alongside these footballing greats and learn about the game. That's what will be amazing," Arsenal and France's leading goal-scorer added.

Video: Afsar Dayatar/Rediff.com

Henry landed in Kolkata on Tuesday and within hours had witnessed the ISL clash between Atletico de Kolkata and Mumbai City FC, a close encounter that left him impressed.

"I arrived in India and came to see the ISL match in the (Tuesday) evening. The game needed a goal, which came late, but other than that it's a good atmosphere here. It was a good game of football."

"We saw two good goalkeepers and Diego Forlan doing what he does best -- putting the ball at the back of the net," Henry said.

Thierry Henry speaks to the media in Mumbai on Wednesday

IMAGE: Henry speaks to the media in Mumbai.

Asked about the coaches who brought out the best in him, the 'Hero of Highbury' said he could not name one or two because he had many coaches who shaped his game when he was a budding footballer.

"You have to have a good foundation to be a good player," he said. "I had many good coaches in my younger days and the right structure and they had a hand in my growth as a footballer."

"You have to have a good coach to direct you on the right path. I had Arsene (Wenger) and Pep (Guardiola) in my professional career, but I was lucky to have good coaches in my younger days."

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