English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur are in town getting ready to kick off their US tour against the Earthquakes on Saturday (4 p.m. ET, ESPN & ESPN Deportes).
Following their California stop, it will be on to the opposite coast for a highly anticipated match on July 22 when the UEFA Champions League qualifiers face Thierry Henry in his Red Bulls debut at Red Bull Arena.
“[He’s a] fantastic player,” said Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp of Henry on Thursday. “Absolutely one of the greatest players to grace the Premier League and a great guy as well.
“I think he’ll be a big asset to [MLS]. He’s a class guy and fantastic footballer,” continued Redknapp, who was a midfielder for the Seattle Sounders during the NASL years. “He’s an amazing signing. He could’ve gone back to England and played in the Premier League easily, but I think he preferred to come [to the US], so he’s a big signing.”
One player you would imagine to feel some resentment towards “Titi” is Robbie Keane. The popular Irish striker has been a Spur throughout most of Henry’s career at Arsenal, Tottenham’s fiercest rivals.
Most importantly, the longtime Ireland captain led his team onto the pitch at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis that witnessed the “Hand of Gaul,” the play in which Henry handled a cross inside the 6-yard box and gave William Gallas the pass for the winning goal to send France to the 2010 World Cup.
“Finished,” said Ireland’s top scorer of that game. "Gone. [It’s in] the past."
However, he had nothing except good things to say about his former rival.
“[Henry] is obviously a tremendous player,” Keane said. “He was brilliant in the Premiership for Arsenal and scored a lot of goals. He’s a big player and I’m sure he’ll do OK [in MLS].”
Italian goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini, who may be starting in goal against Henry, echoed the comments of his manager and striker.
“I’m sure he’s going to have a great impact on MLS,” Cudicini said. “He’s been a fantastic player in England, Spain and [for the French] National Team. He’s won many trophies and has great experience. It’s going to be good for the kids, as well, to see him as a guy who can teach a lot of things … I think he’s going to be a great ambassador.”