-Jason Davis

Thierry Henry is in London, where he'll train with his old club Arsenal during the MLS off-season. The word of the agreement came out today, simply, and without much fanfare beyond the understandable legend-returns-to-his-old-club flavor. Henry will use the stint to stay fit during the MLS break, and provide guidance to some of Arsenal's younger players. Beyond the obvious potential for a training ground mishap in which Henry picks up an injury, everybody wins.

Henry's agreement to spend a some time at Arsenal stands in direct contrast to the on-again, off-again, holy-crap-just-figure-it-out nonsense of David Beckham's dance with Tottenham. There are caveats involved in the two distinct approaches to winter excursions for Major League Soccer's biggest names, but it's debatable whether they forgive the Englishman for his shenanigans.

Does Beckham get a pass for wanting to actually go out on loan because he still imagines himself getting back into the England National Team? It's an issue with which Henry, having retired from international play after the World Cup, doesn't have to contend. Thierry is a New York Red Bulls player first and foremost, and is acting like one. Staying fit, especially with the minimal impact he had on the Red Bulls in 2010, is commendable. Doing so at his former home makes sense.

Some of those same good feelings might have followed Beckham if he hadn't been so intent on playing, rather than simply training, with Spurs. No, Tottenham isn't his old club where his simple presence would charge up the fan base and prompt spontaneous strolls down Memory Lane, but Becks does happen to hail from London and has that amazing charisma that endears him to most of the English populace in some measure. Galaxy fans, if they feel any love for Beckham at this point, might have even been amenable to their highest paid player spending time kicking a ball around as long as it didn't put his increasingly-creaky body in danger of breaking down again. Stay fit, Becks - we'll see you at camp.

Let's consider the possible rationalizations for Beckham's obstinate angling to go out on loan again:

1. He's competitive and has an insatiable thirst to play soccer, admirable qualities.

Not thick enough. Every player is competitive, or they wouldn't be professionals. Most of them can balance their competitive natures against what is best for both themselves and the teams they're contracted to.

2. England National Team

Whatever. I'd say "give it up", but I admire Beckham's passion for the international game. Still, if it takes burning what little wick he has left to squeeze out another cap or two, and at the expense of what he might be able to contribute to the Galaxy this season, then it's time to rethink the obsession.

3. MLS sucks

Not valid. It's too late, after all the talking and voluntarily choosing to come to the US, for that to fly. If Beckham wanted a higher level after leaving Madrid, he probably could have found one.

Ugh. Now I feel dirty. I'm not sure there's a valid defense for the drama Beckham has caused this winter, no matter what a few commentators might say. I suppose, should Beckham have consummated the loan with an expiration date that would have him back in LA for the start of the MLS season, the whole thing would have a "no harm, no foul" feel to it. But considering the history, it would be naive to assume that Beckham would simply swallow hard and leave Tottenham after a few short months.

So now it's just training for Becks, as it is with Henry at Arsenal, though the constantly mutating statements out of the Tottenham camp have me a bit confused as to how it came to that resolution. The result is the same, the approaches, and the effects on their respective reputations with the fans of their MLS clubs, are diametrically different. That doesn't necessarily mean that Thierry Henry is more committed to the MLS/Red Bulls cause than Beckham is to the MLS/Galaxy cause, but it sure seems that way.

If the Galaxy insisted that Becks not play, that it remain a training stint only, good for them. It's about time they did so. I'm sure Red Bulls fans are relieved their world renowned superstar treats his responsibilities just a bit differently.

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