Thierry Henry is disappointed that “weird rules” prevented him wearing an Arsenal shirt for the last five minutes against New York Red Bulls.Arsene Wenger pleaded with English referee Kevin Friend and his assistants at half-time to allow the Gunners legend, who played the entire 90 minutes for the MLS side, to swap teams shortly before the end of the 1-1 Emirates Cup draw.
Arsenal once again threw away a lead as Kyle Bartley’s own goal gifted New York the cup having led most of the game through Robin van Persie’s opener.
Wenger was told that one player cannot play for two teams in the same match, even in a pre-season tournament.
Henry admitted he would have been delighted to turn out for the home team after getting a rapturous reception from supporters at the club where he spent eight years.
“Arsenal asked me and I said, ‘yeah, why not?’ It was the plan but they have some weird rules and FIFA or the ref or whoever it was, denied it,” a disappointed Henry said.
“But that’s the way it is. It doesn’t matter. I’ve played enough games in an Arsenal shirt.”
Henry, who is the leading scorer in the MLS this season, has no desire to return to the Premier League after bringing down the curtain on one of the most successful spells of any overseas player in England four years ago.
“I don’t miss it,” he said.
“I have done what I had to do here. It is more than nice to see the reception I got. It is like, ‘wow’. It is amazing, don’t get me wrong. But I did what I had to do and I’m happy with it.”
“It was very emotional for me, it always is when I come back here.”
“I didn’t do it a lot. When I came back for Barcelona I came on for the last 10 or 15 minutes, but now definitely I know what it is like to run after the ball when you play against Arsenal. I used to be on the other side.”
“We were lucky. Somehow we got a draw. I don’t know how, but we did,” he said.
“We don’t have a big squad so it was difficult for us to put two teams out there. Some of the guys played 90 minutes yesterday and 90 minutes today so you have to give the guys some credit.”
“It was kind of mixed emotions. You also want to compete. They were asking for pictures, asking for shirts before the game.”
“You have to try to play it properly. The fans are cheering me beforehand, cheering when I’ve got the ball. It is the way it is. You know the love I have with the club and the understanding I have with the fans.”