CHESTER, Pa. — When the rumors started swirling around New York City that former Arsenal, Barcelona and French National Team striker Thierry Henry may join the Red Bulls as their second Designated Player, a member of the Philadelphia Union took note.
A follower of Henry’s since his early days back in the mid-1990s, fellow French striker Sebastien Le Toux couldn’t be happier that those rumors are now reality.
"He’s a huge player who has won the World Cup in 1998 and the Euros [in 2000]," Le Toux said after his team’s 1-0 victory over Celtic on Wednesday evening. “He is one of the best French strikers of all-time, and for me it’s really nice to see him come here. I hope the best for him.”
The Designated Player position has been heavily discussed over the years, and teams have been adding them to their roster with varying success. Le Toux feels Henry will have a massive impact on the league and expects nothing but good things from the Red Bulls' new No. 14.
“I think he’s going to bring his experience as he’s won many titles in his career,” Le Toux said. “He’ll definitely help his team like that. He’ll also bring a very good image, too. He’s a great player and has had a great career, and it’s not finished yet.
“From what I have heard from him, he wants to play really well and win titles with New York. I hope that Philadelphia wins titles before New York, but I’m very excited to see him play in this country because he really is a great player.”
Unfortunately for Le Toux, the rest of his Union teammates and Philadelphia-area soccer fans, they won’t get a chance to see Henry play in person until the two sides meet in the last match at PPL Park this season on Oct. 16.
You can bet that Le Toux circled the date as soon as he heard the official news of Henry’s signing.
“I hope it’s going to be nice, but I’ve never been in this situation before,” said Le Toux of playing against one of his idols. “I’m sure he’s going to be very nice to play against. At that point in the season, I hope it’s going to be a very important game—but when you’re on the field, you don’t really think about that. It’s usually the day before or during the week.
“It’s a long time from now, though, and until then I’m going to be like you and all soccer fans in this country—just watching him to see how he does.”