Backe shoots down talk of extended loan for Henry

Hans Backe and Thierry Henry

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While Thierry Henry’s loan stint has been a success for his old club Arsenal, Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe confirmed Thursday that his striker’s place will be back with New York next week.

Henry, whose two goals in six appearances has helped spur a 4-1-1 run from the Gunners, is expected to join his MLS mates in Arizona next week for the upcoming leg of the club’s preseason training. The Red Bulls are currently in Mexico and are coming off a 2-0 win over FC Dallas on Wednesday in their first friendly action of the new year.

“He will be back here in New York [as of] when I talked with him a couple days ago,” Backe told reports in a conference call on Thursday. “February 17, in between our two camps.”

Henry’s presence with his old club has been as much about his on the field production as it has been about his veteran leadership. Arsenal have underachieved this year and Henry’s arrival has coincided with a strong run that now sees the club just three points off a top-four standing in the English Premier League.

After Henry scored last weekend in a 7-1 victory over Blackburn, reports surfaced that manager Arsene Wenger wanted to extend Henry’s stay beyond his mid-February deadline. Backe was unaware of any such overtures from Arsenal and said he was “100 percent” certain his star striker would be back in the fold next week.

“From what I know it’s only rumors,” Backe said. “I haven’t heard anything that they have reached out to extend the loan.”