Henry working on fitness ahead of Barclays debut

Frenchman the star of the show at pre-tourney press conference

Need proof things are different now in Jersey? A press conference at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday featured an English international and three top-flight European coaches – and all of them combined lacked the star power of one single player.

Welcome to the new era of Thierry Henry, New York-style.

Wednesday afternoon’s media event ahead of the Barclays New York Challenge served as yet another gauge of Henry’s allure to the press both in the New York metropolitan area and internationally. The questions for Henry and the number of cameras gathered around the former Arsenal and Barcelona striker easily dwarfed other players in attendance such as Gareth Barry, Daniel Carrico and Tom Huddlestone.

Henry reiterated that he is eager to get on the field with his new teammates and that like Manchester City and Tottenham, he is currently in “preseason” mode himself. While he has yet to consult with head coach Hans Backe yet about his role over the next two friendly matches, he is hopeful to get a long run with his new team.

“I’m not like 100 percent yet, as you can imagine,” Henry said.

Henry said that there is excitement in the New York locker room about playing two teams from the English Premier League.

“It’s massive games to play Premiership teams at this level,” Backe said.

The final question Henry fielded was perhaps the most interesting. Last week, the forward said that he came to New York “to win.”

On Wednesday, he expounded on the notion of what he hopes to accomplish on the field, and how it will translate to soccer's success off of it.

“You want to achieve stuff on the pitch," Henry said. "What comes with it
obviously will come. I want to come here and try to win and compete with my
team and win a title. That’s the only way you can make this game
progress.”

Kristian Dyer is a reporter for MLSSoccer.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs. He can be reached for comment at KristianRDyer@yahoo.com and followed at twitter.com/kdyer1012