Many thanks to Bryan Symons for translating the following Theirry Henry interview by Pierre Menes, from L'Equipe of 29th November|
Interesting comments on free-kicks in particular.
L'Equipe: A hat-trick in the Champions League is an excellent first for you. Before the game did it feel unusual?
TH: Not at all. You know football is like that. There are days when you succeed and days when nothing works, even if you make the same effort
L'E: The first goal is typical of your style. The shot into the opposite corner. Can you describe it?
TH: It's true it's my speciality. First one must stress the great ball from Gilberto Silva. It made it possible. It was truly excellent. His pass was perfect at the ideal tempo and it unsettled the Roma defence. I then controlled it well. One always tries to do that; But it's control that puts you in the best position for the shot. This time the ball was perfectly placed. The trick to do after that is to make the ball skim the ground because that makes the ball most inaccessible to the keeper; It's true my shot was very well placed.
L'E: The second goal is different. It's more a reaction shot from a striker.
TH: Luzhny is on the right side and I lift my arm to call for a centre which arrives very nicely. I head the ball, it ricochets off the arm of Panucci I believe. As it falls the Roma defenders wait to see which of them will take the ball. I profit from this and hit the ball strongly with my left foot.
L'E: And a few moments later there is a magnificent free kick. Did you feel you were going to score?
TH: Completely. I said to my mates who were helpful to let me shoot. I told Robert "Go over the ball" He said OK. I felt this free kick would go well. When it's not the case I play the ball to a colleague, but I was sure of it being a good evening.
L'E: Each time that you take a free kick one is struck by the casual manner with which you play the ball. One has almost the impression that it is an action which has no importance for you.
TH: I work on it a lot in training, but it is true that I have heard this sort of remark before. What counts is to place my ball well, for it to go over the wall. It's an action requiring precision not power.
L'E: What did Arsene Wenger say to you after the match?
TH: Nothing. Everyone was in the changing room and we didn't have time to talk. But I don't know if there was any need. The regard of the manager is enough
L'E: After the match the Italian journalists were astonished that you are not being spoken off as of the favorites to win France Football's next Golden Football. How do you react?
TH: It is the type of question that gives me pleasure, but at the same time, how can I respond to it? I don't vote. I was one of fifty players nominated. After that it's not up to me; I have been consistent; I have won the double with Arsenal, at the same time others like Ronaldo have won a great World Cup. Frankly it doesn't preoccupy me more than that.
L'E: And being the fourth striker in the history of the Campions League to score more than 25 goals?
TH: It's the sort of thing that will give me pleasure when I have finished my career, but at the moment my sporting
objectives are with my club
L'E: Truly, Arsenal have started the second phase of the Champions League perfectly. Also the draw between Valencia and Ajax will be decisive. Do you think so?
TH: This match against Valencia is for me the the most important of the second phase, because if we win our position will be ideal before the European winter break. It will also allow us to concentrate on the Championship, where a terrible programme awaits us where we meet Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea over less than three weeks. For these reasons the victory in Rome is a really good thing.
L'E: Last season Arsenal did not lose a single away match in the Premier League while at the European level you had some reverses. This season you have won three out of four matches. Have they become your priority?
TH: No. It's because we have been playing for three seasons in Europe with the same team. We have dealt with set-backs and approach matches differently. I don't know if one can speak of experience. And I would underline the benefit that Bobby brings. With him the ball circulates better, our play is more fluid; He is always available, he is always asking for the ball and he knows how to make it live.
L'E: This season you have scored 6 away goals in the Champions League have you an explanation?
TH: None. It simply proves that I can adapt to the Dutch, German and Italian games and don't have any need of the supposed "spaces" of English football.