Thierry Henry trains with Arsenal

 

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The Independent Football

Arsene Wenger feels the presence of Arsenal legend Thierry Henry at the club's training ground this week can help "lift" his players as they look to maintain their resurgence at Norwich on Saturday.

The former Arsenal captain, 34, has used the opportunity to rejoin his old club after the New York Red Bulls' Major League Soccer play-off campaign came to an end.

With the Gunners looking to make it five Barclays Premier League wins in a row in Saturday's lunchtime kick-off to continue their climb up the table, Wenger believes the return of Henry, who left for Barcelona in the summer of 2007, will be positive all-round.

Speaking to Arsenal Player, Wenger said: "Thierry was in with our training today, and he does not need to show how good he is.

"He just wants to stay fit and enjoy the football club again, because he is at home here and it is always good to have him back.

"When you are not the day before the game, it is possible of course for him to practise with the first team.

"It is always a lift to see what a big player he still is."

Wenger will be hoping for a clean bill of health from his returning internationals, but is understood to be without young defender Carl Jenkinson because of a back problem.

Full-back Kieran Gibbs could also be set for an extended spell on the sidelines after reports he needed a hernia operation.

With Wenger's defensive options already limited by Bacary Sagna's broken ankle, Johan Djourou may be asked to fill in on the right, although France international Laurent Koscielny can also play there, leaving Per Mertesacker to partner fit-again Thomas Vermaelen in the centre.

In-form captain Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott could both start on the bench at Carrow Road if Wenger errs on the side of caution, which would then open the door for Park Ju-young or Marouane Chamakh to lead the attack.

The Morocco frontman has so far failed to follow-up his initial success of his debut campaign, making only one start.

The 27-year-old, who joined on a free transfer from Bordeaux, said: "I haven't played as much, what with van Persie coming back from injury, but for me, it's been a settling in period.

"It has been good to play for a club like Arsenal and getting used to the league, but I am trying to learn, enjoy it and long may it continue."

Walcott played in each of England's friendly wins over Spain and Sweden at Wembley.

The pacy winger, though, feels whatever Arsenal side runs out at Carrow Road must not expect a walk in the park.

He told www.arsenal.com: "Norwich show tremendous spirit because they've got nothing to lose at times.

"Obviously they will be the underdogs going into the game, but we can't take that for granted.

"We have to be ready and on our game."

Arsenal have, meanwhile, confirmed 19-year-old England youth international Luke Freeman has joined npower League One side Stevenage FC on loan until January, while young defender Daniel Boateng has agreed a contract extension.

PA

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