Wenger: 'No problem' with Henry
By Tom Adams & Laurent Picard. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Arsene Wenger has stated that there is 'no problem' between himself and Arsenal captain Thierry Henry after widespread speculation of a rift developing between the two over the weekend.
Reports in the English press on Saturday suggested that the two Frenchmen had suffered a big falling-out after disagreeing over whether Henry could be fit to feature in Saturday's North London derby against Tottenham Hotspur.
However, before kick-off at The Emirates Stadium, Henry poured scorn on reports of a rift as he revealed that his early exit from training on Friday stemmed from his disappointment at an injury that is likely to keep him on the sidelines for a number of weeks.
Wenger explained he needed to consult his skipper after watching Arsenal defeat their rivals 3-0, and the Gunners boss has now denied reports that his close relationship with Henry has been compromised in recent days.
"Of course, I am aware of stories circulating in the media about our meeting last Friday," Wenger told the club's official website.
"I just feel that it's important to reiterate that there is no problem between myself and Thierry, in fact, we have always had a strong relationship and that remains the case.
"I wanted to clear this up and end any further speculation, as it is a pivotal week in our season and we now need to focus on the upcoming Porto game, where we need to get a result to qualify for the next stage of (UEFA) Champions League."
After the summit meeting with Henry regarding the striker's fitness, Wenger has confirmed he expects the French international to be absent for 'at least a few weeks', as he deals with the sciatic nerve problem.
"I sat down with Thierry this morning to discuss his fitness," Wenger added.
"As you know, he keeps picking up niggling injuries which are down to fatigue.
"It's very frustrating for him you know because this series of injuries has kept him out of a few important games this season, including Tottenham last Saturday.
"The medical team has now assessed the situation and although it's difficult to predict exactly, Thierry will be out for at least a few weeks, as we need to give him time to fully recover."
Meanwhile, Gael Clichy says he is aiming to win a place in the France squad by continuing to shine at Arsenal.
The young left-back has taken on the mantle of being Ashley Cole's successor in North London after his former colleague's fractious departure to Chelsea.
After winning his place in the Gunners backline, Clichy knows that he must maintain his form in order to remain in favour with Wenger and impress France manager Raymond Domenech.
"I must accumulate great performances and big matches," Clichy told Le Parisien.
"For the moment, the most important thing is Arsenal, but I am also a candidate to play with Les Bleus."