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Thierry Henry Speech: It’s Not Just a Game

Watch this famous Thierry Henry Speech. Thierry is a French professional football coach and former player who is currently the manager of Major League Soccer club Montreal Impact. Thierry is considered one of the greatest strikers of all time and has often been debated by pundits and journalists as the greatest striker in the history of the Premier League. Enjoy our Speeches with subtitles and keep your English learning journey.

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Thierry Henry Quote:

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“You learn from your mistakes.” Thierry Henry

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Thierry Henry full TRANSCRIPT:

“Jessica: Welcome.

Thierry: Thank you.

Jessica: It’s a real pleasure to have a footballer of your credentials with us today. And I think I don’t think I’m overregulated when I say one of the iconic players of our time. And watching that video laying out your glittering career before you, how do you feel when you see that? I’m just reminded of a quote by a man that you know quite well, Arsene Wenger, who described you as the greatest striker ever, the Michael Jordan of football.

Thierry: Oh, I don’t know about that. That’s a big one. Did he say I was a pain in the neck also in the court? First and foremost, hi everyone, sorry. But when I look at this, nothing is impossible. That’s what I think of. But nothing is impossible obviously, because you have a group around you that makes it possible for you. That’s what I think of. At the beginning of my career, you tend to think about the ‘I’ in the process because you need to make your way in a group sometime that was already formed. And you need to have an impact, and try to find out who you can be, and what player you can be. And then at the end of the career and throughout the career, you start to understand that without your mates, you are no one. So when I look at this, although the pictures, they were my goals and stuff like that, but it reminds me of the whole process of it. And how you can achieve stuff when everyone kind of trust each other. And there’s something that’s not, it’s almost kind of a thing that people do not do anymore, especially in a group, being honest with each other is very key. Having arguments also is very key. It’s healthy as long as it is for the cause of the group, which means winning and getting trophies. So that’s what I think of when I see that.

Jessica: It’s interesting. I’ve seen interviews with you before where you’ve said, “if a player scores a goal for their team, but the team doesn’t go on to win, those goals should be discounted?”

Thierry: Yeah.

Jessica: That’s incredible. So it’s nothing about personal success.

Thierry: Well, it’s something that you can share when you’re done. I kind of bother my kids with that now with the goals that I used to score and stuff like that. But I think for me one of the most important thing is: Did it matter in the game? Did it matter in the game? Sorry. That’s what you’re there for. You’re there to score goals and win the game. I wasn’t interested at the end of the game, if we lost the game and I was going to say at least, I scored two. You scored two, they need to mean something in the game. And if it didn’t mean anything. Even when fairness, I did score goals and we won, I wasn’t always happy or less satisfied. But yes, it’s discounted. I want to be too far, but it’s an image that I always said that’s… and you scored two you lost four-two. What’s the big deal out of that?

Jessica: Incredible.

Thierry: Just might sound harsh, sorry, but to keep you on your toes.

Jessica: You clearly a perfectionist.

Thierry: Well, I think I don’t know if everyone is, but I said that you showed something yesterday, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be the same on the day after. And so I always see it as it’s a new race the day after and we all have the same starting point. Let’s see who’s going to win that race again today. So I don’t live in the past, although you need the past to be present in the future. That’s what I always say. But the present is actually the moment that we’re living right now. So I was trying to live at that particular moment. And the only time you can go back and start to think about what you’ve done is when it’s done. Now I can, that’s what I said to you about my kids with it. But at the time that you’re active, you need to think about what’s coming next.

Jessica: So let’s just take it back then, to when you were a young child. As I understand that you used to play in your cousin’s bedroom of a tennis ball, kicking the tennis ball around the bedroom when you were just five, six years old. Did you ever envisage at that point, Champions League winner, World Cup winner, European Championship winner, fifth on the all-time Premier League scoring list?

Thierry: No.

Jessica: Did you dream big?

Thierry: You know what I was thinking at that particular moment, that we’re going to be in trouble if my mom walks in or my auntie. That’s the only thing I was thinking of. And we thought we were clever; we’re smashing the ball against walls. And when they walked in we’re like… but you think you’re that clever when you are young. I didn’t think about that. I never put myself in this type of situation. I always said to myself: The rest will take care of itself. Work hard, try to add tools in your game and whatever happens will happen. But you need to be that guy that is going to put something on a table for the coach to work with. Like I said before, that pain in the neck in a good way to challenge your coach because that’s what you’re supposed to do also, causing trouble in a good way, by the way. But I never thought I was going to do what I did. And I think it’s good also, because you need to do something up in the air sometime. You can’t always guess what’s going to happen. It might have been a dream. I must have said it sometimes with my friend: I’m scoring the last goal of the game. But a lot of people said that and it didn’t happen for them. What I wanted to do is to be prepared to be able to perform. And I used to say it: The rest will take care of itself.

Jessica: So you mentioned giving the coach something to work with. Now one of the greatest coaches you’ve obviously ever worked with Arsene Wenger, who you’ve described as a father figure.

Thierry: Yes.

Jessica: How much do you think your success, is not down to him, but was nurtured by him and allowed you to realize your potential?

Thierry: The boss, Arsene Wenger.

Jessica: You still call him the boss?

Thierry: Anyone that I had as a boss, I call them boss. It’s difficult for me to break that barrier, will be the same way until I die. But that’s only me. The boss had an impact on me mentally. So he unlocked some doors that were locked for me and showed me the way and made me understand the player that I could be. But then after, it gave you that freedom to be the player that you could be, but you have to embrace it and grab it. Very important. To an extent, I thought that I did that in a way. But he had that amazing way of talking his way out of the box, and that is well documented. I used to go in his office upset for whatever reason. I don’t receive the ball in the right time or why we’re not playing like this or like that. I remember going in his office, I’m going to tell him this, I’m going to tell him that. And I used to leave his office. I didn’t tell him anything. And he told me what you wanted to tell me and I closed the door. I’m like, hang on a minute. And I used to leave the room with a smile, not worrying about one hour before and being happy with what’s coming next. He had that impact on people where, I think at one point a boss – people always talking about what’s happening on the field. But the boss needs to have also the quality to get you mentally and unlock that and trigger your brain. Is very important because you have a lot of coaches that can tell you, I can make you stronger, I can make you bigger, might work on your work tactically. But not a lot of coaches can say, I’m going to make you smarter, I’m going to make sure that you’re going to use your brain on the field the right way. And he was one of those coaches.

Jessica: Did he help you off the field as well, did you?

Thierry: Yeah, big time. We used to talk about anything and everything. And just him, his calmness. I mean, I don’t know if you guys, a lot of people know him. I’m sure you must have seen him. He has a way to talk to you to calm you down and tell you the right thing. Don’t ask yourself the wrong question. That also something about me a lot in the game. I used to try to put the fault on others before when I was a player. And I started to think, how can I move and help those guys and function of how they play. Instead of them adapting to me, to adapt my game to them. That’s why he was always saying to me a lot, ask yourself the right question. That guy sees you. In my mind, you could but technically, maybe not in the way that I wanted to. So you have to make a run where that guy probably can see you and the other one makes a difference because he can see you in a different way. And you start to play and function of who you are, who you have around. And that’s down to him. Again, he unlocked that door, that eyesight to start to play with that guy. I got to move these guys. I need to drop because he said is never up. Whatever it was in my mind, I started to understand the movement I need to make and function or whatever.

Jessica: You described yourself as a pain in the neck. And I know that when you were playing, you did interviews. You had a question that you didn’t like. You would tell the journalists understandable. If someone a colleague on the pitch did something that you didn’t like, you would have the confidence to tell them. Did that come from Arsene Wenger as well? Or is that something that’s always been within you? Have you always been quite a resolute character?

Thierry: I understood early in my career that we’re here for the cause. We’re not here to be friends or go out or whatever it was or be nice, we’re here to win. That’s one of the most important things. And you need to do anything in order. It’s like if I see you and you’re about to do something – and I was by the way, expecting the same for me. I wanted you to tell me if I wasn’t being right on the day, I’m not putting 100% in the game because that would have woken me up and you need that at times and so I was. It was always for the good of the game and for the team. So I was always saying what I had to say. And at times is not always nice because as you can imagine on the field, you can’t really be eloquent all the time and use nice words. Sometimes they’re not that great and the emotion that goes for your body doesn’t come out well in what you want to say and how you say it and how you should say it. But you can put any sugar on it or make it better than what it was. And so yeah, I was very much in people’s faces. In my own face also, I expected a lot from myself and a lot from my teammates and they expect the same from me. That is why I did find myself in teams where we more often than not ended up winning something at the end of the season because we were at that altogether within the dressing room.

Jessica: You want a fair few things, don’t you?

Thierry: With the team yes. Yes, it’s very important. Like I said to you, you need to have guys or other guys around that’s going to understand what you’re all about, understand your brain, understand that sometime you might lose it, but it’s for the good of the team. And the guys that I played with understood that. Like I said to you, I understood them too.

Jessica: Thierry, who are some of the greatest players you played with? Dennis Bergkamp must be one, isn’t he?

Thierry: Well, I can name a lot because I did have the opportunity to play with a lot of great players: Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho, Xavi, Iniesta, Zidane. But I played with some guys that I will not even qualified as human in terms of, we’re talking football. And obviously with all due respect, we’re talking football because Lionel Messi is not human for me. What he does is not normal, really not normal. I don’t know if you guys are realizing what the guy is doing, but this is not normal what he’s doing. And Zizou the same, Zidane and the other guys. But when we go back to the normal people, human beings, Dennis Bergkamp is the best player that I played with. Why? Because of, guys, what you didn’t see is commitment every day in training and his desire. When it was great, Dennis Bergkamp, we could have taken it easy sometimes in training and nothing was easy with Dennis. You have to make a pass there, he was making a pass there, control left, pass right. He was doing that 100 times. And he was always doing what the game was asking him to do when he can do something else. Play simple, that’s one of the most difficult things. And great players do that this simple. When sometime you might show both or whatever. Now all these simple, and Dennis had that in the way he was training. Also, he is the player that I played the longest with. But understand, then you have the freaks up there, but human beings and Dennis Bergkamp, yeah.

Jessica: And now you’re on the other side, I guess. You’re working alongside the media as a pundit. How much attention did you pay to pundits if they had criticized you or made a comment about you? And do you now get in trouble for criticizing players, perhaps you know and… sense with?

Thierry: When I was player I tend to, when stuff were outside of the game and it was a bit personal, I used to go like talk about the game. You don’t have to be, go to the other side. And I think you have to understand that sometime you’re not playing well or you did a mistake. When outside of the game and people were talking it on a personal point of view, I used to just set it out with the person usually. I used to have that, like I said, if you don’t have something to say, I say it to someone. Now on another side, it’s kind of difficult because for example, I look at the shirt there on the screen. Whenever I talk about Arsenal, whenever I just say something, it goes everywhere. It is where it is. They play well. I’m saying they’re playing well. I hear he’s bias because he is an Arsenal fan. When they don’t play well, how dare you saying about Arsenal? What shall I say? It’s difficult job to call ultimately what you see in the game and try to call the game out. I try to stay in the game and what happen in the game and not what’s happening outside of the game is not an easy one because some of the guys that I played against, some of the guys that I’ve played, we’ve still, yeah, a lot actually. So yeah, but you have to call what you see, and it’s not that easy. I will be honest, especially when it comes down to Arsenal for me. And even more so, especially because I had to talk about my old boss. Not a lot of people are pundits and they have to talk about their old boss is not an easy one, but I have to do it, I’m doing it. And it is where it is, but I’m enjoying it.

Jessica: I think everyone can join me in thanking Thierry Henry. Thank you for your insight. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for being with us.

Thierry: Thank you.”[/read]

Thierry Henry  Speech

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