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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 18, 2006

Henry bullish over contract extension

Thierry Henry insisted his commitment on the pitch was enough to prove to the fans how much he loves Arsenal as he refused to become embroiled in a debate over his future with the club.

Henry, preparing to face Villarreal in the semi-final of the Champions League tomorrow night, has one year left on his current deal but has not yet committed himself to a long-term contract.

That reluctance has sparked intense speculation he will quit Highbury in the summer.

However, his steadfast refusal to give any indication towards his future plans was finally shaken when quizzed as to whether he felt he owed anything to the fans to provide them with an answer.

'Who do I owe, and for what?' retorted a stunned Henry. 'Don't you see my commitment on the pitch? I think you can see it.

'I'm a human being like you are and need time to take my decision, that's all. I don't think about the word owe. I owe something to my Dad, yes, who put me on this planet.

'We are here talking about the semi-final and we are here to talk about a great opportunity for the club. I think sometimes it's a bit of a shame that people single me out and try to speak about other stuff.'

The France striker, 28, was more keen to discuss the hurt he has felt every time Arsenal have failed to do well in the Champions League.

He will make his 101st appearance in the competition and is just one goal short of his 50th in European football.

Arsenal have never reached the semi-finals of the competition before, let alone the final, and Henry admits their failure has left his CV somewhat short.

'Since the beginning I wanted to win the competition and obviously it's a fact that's the big thing missing on my CV,' said Henry.

'It has been missing for me and for the club and the only players that had won it in the team before was Kanu and Marc Overmars. So we all have that hunger.

'Every year we've felt we need to win it. When we were unbeaten we said we have to win it and we didn't. Every year our mind is the same - on the Champions League. We always try to win the thing.'

Boss Arsene Wenger is preparing for an emotional night as they play their last European game at Highbury before moving to the new Ashburton Grove stadium next season.

The ground has been particularly special to Henry on his way to breaking numerous goalscoring records at the club and he admits it will be an emotional night for him.

'I've got so many memories, it's difficult not to talk about it,' he said. 'I know they're going to build some flats or something but it will be great to go back and just sit there.

'I think it's going to be pretty special. I just hope something can be even better to cheer about at the end of the game.

'For me it is difficult to talk about Highbury. You need to go out and there play on it. You see my record, my goalscoring record, I scored a lot of goals at Highbury and something special about it.

'It's kind of strange because the pitch is so small compared to others.

'But over the years it is just amazing I have some great goals there, some great memories and it's just something special when you play there.

'It's difficult to put into words. It's just a feeling that I have. People can't mention the word Arsenal without mentioning Highbury.'