Thierry Henry is an instant hit in New York

2010-07-23 10:24

Thierry Henry was an instant hit in his debut for the New York Red Bulls last night, scoring the opener in a 2-1 defeat against England’s Tottenham Hotspur.

The French forward Henry poked home a cross from Joel Lindpere in the 26th minute after wasting an early chance.

He was taken out of the friendly at half time because he is not yet fit for 90 minutes.

The Premier League club Tottenham rebounded from Robbie Keane and Gareth Bale after the break, but that did not spoil the celebratory atmosphere of the 20 000 plus fans who came to the new stadium in Harrison just outside New York.

“The reception was wonderful, just unbelievable. It is always important for me to feel at home,” said the 32-year-old Henry.

Those fans who took the train to the match were pleasantly surprised because they got an early chat with the new idol who used the same means of transport.

“Its the easiest way to the arena, that’s why I took the train. It is cool,” said Henry.

Fans are already snapping up shirts with Henry’s familiar number 14 in large numbers as Adidas aims to sell 50 000 this season.

Only David Beckham had more with 300 000 in his first season at the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007.

Henry joined Beckham as one of the biggest names in Major League Soccer when he signed a four-year contract at the New York club last week.

The striker moved on from Spanish champions Barcelona where he had played for three years but was no longer first choice.

Before that, he spent eight successful years at England’s Arsenal.

Henry won 123 France caps, scoring 51 goals in an international career highlighted by the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 titles.

“I am convinced that he will be a hit in New York. He is still a world-class player and could play in any Premier League team,” said Spurs manager Harry Redknapp.

Red Bulls coach Hans Backe also named Henry “a world-class player” and said that his strength in one-on-one situation could make the difference as the ambitious club seeks its first MLS title. 

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