By DAN KARELL
HARRISON, N.J.– Of Thierry Henry’s 86 games played since signing with the New York Red Bulls in the summer of 2011, he’s only failed to start four games, with two of them coming this season due to a knee injury suffered in the home opener.
That’s why it was a surprise when Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke’s lineup on Saturday evening was was without Henry’s name in the starting eleven. Following the Red Bulls’ 2-1 victory over D.C. United at Red Bull Arena, where Henry played the final 32 minutes of the match, Petke was coy to explain his reasons for leaving the his star forward on the bench.
“I’m a coach, and I make decisions every day,” Petke told reporters after the match. “I made my decision, and that’s between me and the team.”
Earlier this week, reports emerged from Red Bulls training that Petke and Henry had been involved in an altercation in practice, but Petke commented that he thought people were making a bigger deal out of it than it really was.
“(Henry) is an emotionally fiery person, which I love about him, and I’m an emotionally fiery person,” Petke said. “This happens all over the world, everywhere, it’s just news here because it’s the Red Bulls, and it’s Thierry Henry. It’s really much ado about nothing. We immediately cleared the air and he’s on board 100 percent.”
Petke later added: “We immediately were in my office for two hours. (We had a) civil conversation, I heard him out, he heard me out, and we moved on immediately. It didn’t affect the team whatsoever, it didn’t affect Thierry, it didn’t affect me.”
Henry declined to comment after the match.
What do you think of these comments? Do you see Henry returning to the starting lineup in the Red Bull’s next match? Did you agree with Petke’s decision to leave Henry on the bench?
Share your thoughts below.