By Richard Clarke
This season Thierry Henry has paid the price of his success at the World Cup, according to Arsène Wenger.
The French striker played his last game of the campaign in the 1-1 draw with PSV Eindhoven last Wednesday. As Arsenal's Champions League campaign ended so did Henry's season because of stomach and groin injuries.
Wenger accepts that 2006/07 has not witnessed vintage Henry. However this is a player who has stretched the dictionary for superlatives during his eight-year stint at Arsenal. And his manager has enough experience to realise the rigours of a non-stop summer of football will be seen in the final stretch of the following term.
"No it has not been his best season," said Wenger ahead of tonight's Premiership game at Aston Villa.
"The first to concede that would be Thierry. He has played eight years and he has had eight exceptional seasons so you can take one. And what you must take into account when he has played the World Cup and went to the Final.
"Having managed teams five times after a World Cup season, I know that you can lose a player for a whole season."
Media reports suggested Henry was feeling down after Arsenal.com broke the news that he would be out until pre-season training in July.
"I have not seen the interviews," said Wenger. "However he tells me that he is sorry and he feels he has let us down a little bit. But he should not feel that because what can you do about injuries?
"He is paying the price of success. Thierry has played a World Cup, he has a clean lifestyle, he eats well and drinks what a sportsman should. But you have to accept that nature sometimes says stop.
"You don't want it but it's part of our job. We depend on our health. To be a good footballer first you have to be healthy. We concede it when you are 20 you feel nothing can destroy you. But suddenly a small little part of your body can put you on your knees. That's football."Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 14 Mar 2007