[INTERVIEW] Thierry Henry played his first MLS home game for the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday and assisted on the gamewinner in a 1-0 victory over Toronto. Afterward, France’s all-time leading scorer talked about: his progress toward full fitness, MLS fans, Landon Donovan, a promising young teammate, and whether he watched Les Bleus’ first game since his national team retirement after France’s miserable World Cup ...
Did you watch Les Bleus today (France’s 2-1 loss to Norway in a friendly)?
Thierry Henry:I can’t play, prepare for a game, and watch that game. Sorry I couldn’t do that.
Is it frustrating that you haven’t score yet in three MLS games?
TH: I’ve set up all three goals, so it doesn’t bother me.
I played only 45 minutes today (Wednesday) and 45 minutes the other day (Sunday in a 0-0 tie with Chicago) ... I could have scored two against Houston (July 31), but that’s not the most important thing for me.
I’m the link between the midfield and the front.
When do you think you’ll be able to play the full 90 minutes again?
TH: I think Saturday, hopefully. I’m still in preseason so it’s kind of weird for me to go out there and compete with people who are already fit. But I have to go out there and try to do it.
I had a tight hamstring, but I wanted to go out there. I didn’t ask to come out against Chicago but the bench thought that I wasn’t right, so they took me out. I wasn’t happy with it but that’s the way it is. I just wanted to play today and the boss gave me 45 minutes.
How many minutes I’m going to have in every game, I don’t know, but I’m going to always try to go out there and be involved.
What’s your reaction to this stadium, Red Bull Arena, and this crowd?
TH: It is amazing. Obviously we talk about the stadium here and the crowd because it is very good and amazing. They were singing the whole game. And the crowd in Chicago was outstanding.
And also in Houston. That’s why Houston got back in the game against us. Because the guys were singing the whole time.
We were passing the ball around and they were not really touching the ball, but the crowd kept pushing them and they came back in the end (for a 2-2 tie).
Do they sing as well as English fans?
TH: Yeah. From what I understand, they do.
Landon Donovan said he’s looking forward to playing against you when the Galaxy comes on Saturday ...
TH: Same here. I have a lot of respect for the guy. Donovan is the top American player right now and I think he is a very good player. He’s the Galaxy’s key player.
Red Bulls rookie central defender Tim Ream had another strong game today. What is your opinion of his play?
TH: He sometimes loses the ball but that’s all right because I prefer a player who tries to play the ball. How he’s doing right now is amazing. He played great tonight in the back, as did Carlos Mendes, but Timmy obviously has something that you can’t buy. He wants to play every time. And that’s a great thing. ...
When your good you’re good and he’s good.
Do you think Tim Ream should play for the U.S. national team?
TH: The boss in charge of the national team knows what he has to do, but Timmy’s a great player and he has a bright future.
You took the public transportation – the PATH train to your first game (a July 22 friendly against Tottenham) at Red Bull Arena. Did you take the PATH train today?
TH: Today I took my mom, who is visiting from France, to the game, so I didn’t want to take the train. When I’m alone, I’ll do it again.