Wenger: Criticism must stop
By Robin Slater
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Arsene Wenger insists the criticism of captain Thierry Henry must come to an end.
Arsene Wenger has called for the criticism of club captain Thierry Henry to stop insisting that Gilberto Silva is no threat to the goal-scorer and will not take the leadership from him.
Wenger has lost his patience with the mounting condemnation of Henry, by the media and former players, following the apparent bust-up between the two.
Henry has missed the recent matches against Bolton and Tottenham and looks certain to miss the rest of 2006 with a sciatic nerve problem in his neck.
Gilberto has since took over the captaincy in Henry's absence scoring two penalties in the north London derby which has raised talk that the Brazilian should remain as club captain, remarks that Wenger has not welcomed.
"Gilberto will not stay captain when Thierry returns," said Wenger. "Thierry will be the captain. At the moment, Thierry gets a lot of stick that he does not deserve.
"What he has done for the club is tremendous and he will again do a lot of tremendous things for us. But Gilberto is deputising for him and he is doing well for the team.
"Gilberto is a quiet type. But he is a strong leader - much stronger than people expect him to be. He stands up.
"In fairness, he is not a penalty taker but the way he took them on Saturday takes something and that tells you a lot about his character."
Wenger is also hopeful that Arsenal can cope without Henry for the trip to Porto as they look to secure qualification to the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League.
"Ideally, we want Henry to be playing but we have Emmanuel Adebayor, Robin van Persie, Jeremie Aliadiere and Theo Walcott and they can produce goals," added Wenger.
"When Thierry is not there, naturally it changes the game because a lot of the play goes through him. Now other players will have to get more involved.
"Adebayor compliments Henry very well but he can play on his own up front as well. The younger players will take more responsibility."