Problems mount for Henry
Saturday 12 April 2008
While Emmanuel Adebayor's reputation has soared this season, the man he has replaced at the head of Arsenal's attacking line-up, Thierry Henry, is finding plaudits harder to come by. The Frenchman is out of position and out of sorts in Barcelona and this week, despite his team defeating Schalke in the Champions League, he could hide his frustration no more.
"I have never run as much in all my career. Never, never, never, never, never," Henry told L'Equipe after another outing on the left wing. The 30-year-old finds himself behind Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto'o, Lionel Messi and Bojan Krkic in the strikers' queue at the Nou Camp.
"Instead of running off the shoulder of defenders 30 metres from goal I'm going from 60! As far as beating [the last] man is concerned, forget it, my legs are gone by then."
A France team without their star centre-forward would have seemed unthinkable a year ago but Henry fears for his chances at the European Championship this summer. "I'll be honest," he said, "against Spain in February I'd lost my bearings up front, made the wrong calls [and] runs and was poor in front of goal. I'm not in position and my sharpness is gone. So yes, it's a problem."
Statistics bear this out. Henry has scored seven goals in La Liga this season – one every 273 minutes. At Arsenal he scored every 121 minutes in the Premier League.
And the outlook remains gloomy, given his subtle admission that coach Frank Rijkaard is unlikely to hand him the forward berth he craves. "I hope that between the end of Barcelona's season and the start of the Euros I'll be able to get my bearings up front again [with France]."
Henry, who is not in the squad for today's visit to Recreativo Huelva after picking up a knock against Schalke, admitted to personal problems a month ago – his divorce has been well publicised – but his relationship with his team-mates may be under stress too. Asked if he felt he was getting the service he needed he said: "I've nothing to say there. You can analyse things how you want. Me, I've nothing to say."
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