By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger believes Thierry Henry should play as long as he can before he considers a switch to management.

The Club's record goalscorer was back at Emirates Stadium on Friday to see a statue of himself unveiled as part of Arsenal's 125th anniversary celebrations.

Henry was immortalised alongside one of Arsenal's most revered managers, Herbert Chapman, and he has been tipped to follow in his footsteps at some point.

Wenger believes his former striker would be a successful boss but he has urged the New York Red Bull star not to hang up his boots just yet.

"Let him first be a player - his career is not over," said Wenger.

"After that you have to learn the job. It is like any other job. You need to learn the team, how to handle people. You do not stop being a player and become a manager the next day. It doesn't work like that.

"I must say, many players I have managed have qualities to be managers. Patrick [Vieira] or Thierry can both be managers. It is a different life from a player. You have to dedicate your life to the team. Players have to make that choice.

"There are many ways to do it. To go in straight away under massive pressure is maybe not the best way of getting used to dealing with the players. It will be him to decide.

"I encourage every player who has a positive philosophy to be a manager. They can bring something positive to the game. They can influence people's lives in a positive way."

Wenger admitted he would be more than happy for Henry to return to Arsenal complete his coaching badges and he dismissed the suggestion that great players do not usually make good managers.

"It's not always the case," said Wenger. "There are plenty of examples in England. It is a different job. It is a good base to be a great player but there are many other ingredients. I do not rule it out. They can be great managers.

"There is a special satisfaction if any player I have had is happy, even if he is a movie maker, a painter or manager. But my one piece of advice is: play as long as you can!"

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9 Dec 2011