Arsenal’s technical director, Edu Gaspar has revealed how Thierry Henry’s criticism of an on-field mistake forced him to learn English.
He had joined the Gunners in 2001 and was still a youngster who spoke only Portuguese.
That could be intimidating in a dressing room like Arsenal’s and an episode eventually forced him to learn English.
In a recent interview, Edu recalls being reprimanded for a mistake by Henry in the dressing room.
The iconic Arsenal striker criticised him to Robert Pires in French and English, but the young Edu couldn’t understand what he was saying.
Patrick Vieira eventually stepped in and defended him for the mistake, but that event made him vow to learn the English language.
He told The Athletic: “Ashley Cole went towards one guy but the ball went past him, so I tried to cover.
“I made a foul — and from that free kick, the opposition equalised.
“Thierry got the ball out of the net, put it under his arm, and walked back to the centre circle staring at me the whole time, showing he was unhappy with my foul.
“I went back to the dressing room at full-time, and Thierry was in there complaining in English and in French.
“I turned to Robert Pires, who spoke Portuguese, and said, ‘Robert, What’s going on?’ He said, ‘Oh, don’t worry, Thierry is complaining about the score, about the game — no problem’.
“I knew that something didn’t smell right. Thierry was talking and talking, and what was even worse was that I couldn’t understand, or explain my feelings.
“And then Patrick jumped into the conversation. He started to ask what was going on, why there was arguing.
“He really showed he was the leader of the team. He said, ‘Listen, it’s in the past. Anyone can make a mistake’.
“That’s the first image I think of when I remember Patrick. I’m not saying he protected me — he was on the side of protecting the team.
“That day, I said to myself, ‘I need to talk in English — starting tomorrow!’”
Just Arsenal Opinion
It must have been hard for an inexperienced player from Brazil to be in that dressing.
Learning the primary language of communication certainly helps and Edu should probably be thankful to Henry for forcing him to learn how to speak English.