Nicklas Bendtner recounts the time he told Thierry Henry to shut up while training. A fuming Henry needed to be stopped by Ashley Cole and Sol Campbell.
Nicklas Bendtner is a marvelous character. Arsenal’s cult hero is known for a lot. Unfortunately, very little of that has anything to do with football. However, that never bothered the striker as he once called himself one of the best strikers in the world.
To be fair, as a youngster, Bendtner was seen as a top prospect. He was always confident in his abilities, right from the start. That would however, make him act in a manner that would sometimes rub people the wrong way.
Nicklas Bendtner recounts the time he told Thierry Henry to shut up while training
In his new book, Niklas Bendtner has revealed that the coaches had once threatened to cancel his contracts while he was still an academy player for being a little too big for his young boots. Bendtner recalled the incident in an extract in The Guardian when he confronted Thierry Henry for taking too many touches in a game in training.
“During one session we are playing 11 v 11 with a maximum of two touches at a time. I am standing in a position to see Thierry Henry touching it three times. ‘Three touches,’ I shout. Wenger’s assistant, Pat Rice, shouts back: ‘Play on, for f***’s sake!’
“But Henry has heard me. He turns in my direction and puts his finger over his lips: ‘Sssssssh.’
“Shortly afterwards I do the same. The ball touches my heel, and then my toe before I pass it on. It is one movement but the academy player gets a free-kick against him.
“Of course I do. I don’t think, I just start complaining, big time. I say it should be the same for everyone.
“Henry tells me to shut up, this time with a lot of swear words included. And in hindsight it is good advice. But I am not taking it on. I shout back that he is the one who should shut up.
“He runs in my direction, confronts me, yells into my face, says all kinds of things. He totally ignores the fact that the game is going on around us. Ashley Cole and Sol Campbell get involved: ‘Carry on, Nicklas, keep on running and shut your mouth.’
“And I do. I become unusually calm. That is what happens if one of the best forwards in the world stands there and shouts at you.”
Henry confronts Niklas after training
“After training Henry comes after me. We start talking, first in the dressing room and then in the players’ lounge.
“It is a two‑hour soliloquy about everything that is needed to get to where one wants to get. For me it is an honour. It is nice of him and not something he had to do. I soak everything up and it ends with us hugging each other.”
Thierry Henry was a world class footballer in his prime at Arsenal. The forward could have easily acted petty. He had the power to sway opinions in the club. Instead, he left the youngster with a lesson and a lifelong memory. Goes to show what a class act, Henry was.
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