[MLS SPOTLIGHT]As days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, and the New York Red Bulls still had no head coach, it was suggested that they simply hand the job to Thierry Henry. But the French star, now in his fourth season with the club, insists he isn't pulling the strings and he's happy with the hiring of former player and assistant coach Mike Petke as the new head coach.
“I thought that was something clever,’’ Henry told reporters on Monday. “I don’t know who they had in mind, who they were going to approach. The guy is a fan, he loves the club, he played here, he finished here, fans love him, he knows the league, knows the players we’re going to have to play against."
Henry dismissed the notion Petke lacks experience, evoking the case of Pep Guardiola, his coach at Barcelona.
“Some asked me the question is he not too young, inexperienced," Henry said. "To get experience you have to start somewhere. I’m not going to compare Mike to Pep Guardiola, but when Pep took control in 2008-09, after only one year with the reserves, they said “Why don’t we get the big name? The guy won six trophies in one year."
Australian Tim Cahill, the Red Bulls' other returning Designated Player, was even more emphatic about his new boss, calling the decision to promote Petke in place of Hans Backe a "no-brainer."
“It doesn’t take rocket scientist to see what happened last season," said Cahill, who joined the Red Bulls from Everton in 2012. "The team was really open, messy. There was no stability, whereas now there is stability. There’s Petke. There’s his way of playing."