Henry to stay at Arsenal 'as long as they want me'

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The Independent Football

Given that Henry, who will turn 28 in a fortnight's time, also spoke of the "privilege" of being named Arsenal's captain - succeeding the departed Patrick Vieira - and also talked of the simple joy of playing, his reassurances appeared all the more sincere.

Henry has two years left on his current deal at Highbury and talks are ongoing, he confirmed, over a new contract. "I've seen so many things written in the past two days and all the time people question my desire, commitment, but all the time I step on the pitch I try to do my best," Henry said.

"The only thing I can say is the talks are on. I always say I do something that I love. Even if I wasn't playing for Arsenal, if I had to play in the back garden of my friend, I'd play the same way.

"I'd still argue the same way and still be trying some stuff. I'd still be unhappy and happy because I won or because I lost. I'm not demanding anything except to play and try to lead the team to some silverware. I didn't come into football to win money. I came into football first of all to make my Dad proud because he was the most important influence."

Henry added: "Obviously there is stuff that has to be dealt with, but people talk about money and figures. There is money in the game, yes - but the game is more important."

His passion will influence his captaincy - a style which will fall between the "shouting a lot" of Tony Adams and the "putting them on the floor" example shown by Vieira. Arsenal hope also to set Chelsea an example in the FA Community Shield at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, on Sunday. "We will show them from the start that we can compete with them," Henry said.

"Chelsea had something amazing last season. Everyone was saying 'how can you catch them?' But sometimes, something can happen, a team is really fragile, some stuff is not going your way and then, it takes maybe a month or two to get back on track. And maybe that can happen to Chelsea."

* The Arsenal midfielder Robert Pires has not ruled out a move to Galatasaray after apparently being approached by the Turkish club. Pires was quoted in the French press yesterday as saying: "I received a proposal. It is very interesting, I will study it."