PHOENIX – Thierry Henry may go back to Arsenal some day.
But for now, he and the New York Red Bulls are focused on erasing the memories of a somewhat disappointing 2011, when the team squeezed into the postseason as the last seed and lost in the Western Conference Semifinals.
"Last season, we were very confident after having a great preseason," Henry told reporters at a press conference here on Tuesday ahead of their friendly against Mexican side Pumas UNAM. "But … last season wasn't too great, so you can never know. Hopefully we can improve next season and get two or three more players involved in the game. Hopefully [2012 will be] a better year and be more consistent."
The Red Bulls are preparing for three preseason matches this week, including two matches in the four-team Desert Diamond Cup at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. The team's reserve players will feature against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday night. The starters will then play against Pumas, the 2011 Mexican Clasura tournament champions, at Chase Field.
"It's very important to play against a good Pumas team to see where we're at in the preseason," Henry said. "Most important for us is to get good games in."
Henry, who recently landed back in the US after his two-month loan with Arsenal, had just finished his first training preseason session with the Red Bulls at the Grand Canyon University soccer field on Tuesday.
But at the post-practice press conference, media members couldn't help but ask about his recent time in England and the possibility of going back.
When asked if he would consider going back to England when his playing days are over in MLS, Henry, who signed a multi-year deal with MLS in 2010, said, "We'll see if it'll be a good thing or not. The most important thing is the attention. … So far, I'm here."
In January, Henry signed a loan deal with Arsenal, where he is the club's all-time leading goal scorer. He played in six matches across all competitions, scoring three times – two of which were match-winners.
Henry did try to avoid any other question that didn't regard the Red Bulls and the upcoming season.
"I'm here. I'm ready for the season," he said. "Unfortunately, I talked about my time in Arsenal while I was there. I'm only going to talk about the Red Bulls and the upcoming season."