Henry: I owe so much to Wenger

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As if Arsenal fans needed any more good news right now, Thierry Henry, their talismanic striker, yesterday said he owes the club too much ever to leave for another team.

"When I came to Arsenal no one believed in me any more," Henry said. "Arsenal and Arsène Wenger held out their hands. Now that everything's going well, I can't turn round and say: 'Thanks and goodbye'."

Over the last two months Arsenal have overtaken Manchester United at the top of the Premiership, gained a 3-2 away win in the Champions' League first knock-out round against Celta Vigo, progressed to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and been given the go ahead for the new stadium. Henry's promise is further music to Arsenal ears.

"The coach is trying to build something," said Henry, whose contract expires in 2007. "Things are moving forward, I am part of these plans and I don't want to leave." Henry scored his 20th League goal of the season in Saturday's 2-1 win over Charlton Athletic, as Arsenal extended their lead at the top of the table to nine points.

Since joining the Gunners in August 1999, Henry has scored 137 goals in 235 appearances. His brilliant form has seen him regularly linked with a move to Real Madrid. "I'll never stop the rumours," Henry said, "but when you see me on the field you see someone who's fighting for his team and not someone about to leave. I'm more than happy at Arsenal. Full stop."

Arsenal have never reached the semi-final stage of the Champions' League and Henry is determined to set the record straight. "I dream of winning the Champions' League," he said. "We've shown the rest of Europe we can play big matches when we have to, against anyone. But sometimes the team gets complacent, and wakes up only after the criticism," he said. "We are our own worst enemies."

Although considered by many as the world's finest striker, Henry feels he still has room for improvement. "Perfection doesn't exist, but the quest for it makes you better," he said.

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