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Transfer Profile: Suwon Samsung Bluewings' Doneil Henry

Suwon Samsung Bluewings wasted little time in recruiting fresh faces ahead of their return to the AFC Champions League in 2020 by announcing the acquisition of Canadian international defender Doneil Henry from MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps. To find out what Bluewings fans can expect of their new signing, K League United spoke with Mark Dailey, Co-host of the From The Backline Podcast.
(Image via Suwon Bluewings)


Born in Brampton, Ontario in April 1993, Doneil Henry began his career with Toronto FC after graduating from the club's youth academy before becoming a first team player in 2010. In a three year stint at BMO Field, Henry made over 70 appearances before signing with Apollon Limasson of the Cypriot First Division. Henry then returned to Toronto on loan in 2014 before being transferred to West Ham United in the English Premier League after a recommendation to Sam Allardyce by fellow centre back Ryan Nelson. Whist in East London, Henry had loan spells with Blackburn Rovers and AC Horsens in Denmark before returning to his native Canada with Vancouver Whitecaps in 2018.

Henry, 26, has experience playing in the MLS, CONCACAF Champions League, the English FA Cup, the Championship, Europa League qualifying, the Superligaen, as well as the USL in North America throughout his career. But, to find out what K League and indeed Suwon Bluewings fans can expect of the towering centre back, From The Backline Co-host, a Vancouver Whitecaps dedicated Podcast, Mark Dailey, offers his insights

How was Henry viewed at Vancouver Whitecaps? What about in MLS in general? 

Henry's time with the Whitecaps will definitely be looked at with mixed feelings. He definitely did not get off to the best start in his first season here in 2018, but started this past season much better. Doneil was one of the team's best players, but unfortunately as the team struggled this year his form dipped as well.


What are the strongest aspects of his game? 

Doneil is a big, strong centre back who reads the game well and is a strong tackler. A big surprise for many people was Henry's knack for scoring goals this year. 2019 was a dreadful year for the Whitecaps, who were the second worst club in the league, but Doneil's tally of four goals was a highlight and was good enough rank him third in team scoring.

Any weaknesses?

Henry is usually a consistent and reliable player, but he can occasionally get caught out of position quite badly. His two years in Vancouver were not the best years the club has seen, so it would not be completely fair to lay the blame at his feet when quite often his teammates were the guilty ones.

Reason for leaving the Whitecaps?

The Whitecaps' troubles started well before this season, and previous head coach Carl Robinson was fired in the autumn of 2018. Marc dos Santos, who replaced Robinson, cleared house at the end of the year. Henry was one of the handful of players who were brought back for 2019, which was not surprising because the Whitecaps' once strong defensive corps had been whittled away over time. Dos Santos is Canadian, and having talented Canadian internationals like Henry in the squad was surely another reason he was retained for 2019.

The official reason that was given for Doneil's departure was that he and the club had 'mutually decided to part ways'. The Whitecaps have been in turmoil both on and off the pitch for some time and are currently trying to rebuild the team from the ground up. One can assume that after stops in Toronto and Vancouver that Henry simply could have wanted a change of scenery away from MLS.

Where do you think he will be best utilised with Suwon Bluewings? Suwon tend to use a back three, would this suit him? 

I believe playing in a back three would suit Henry, however I believe he would be better off playing more centrally than anywhere else.

What can K League fans expect from him? 

Doneil Henry is a solid player and a classy gent. He'll play hard every match and will fight hard for his new club.

Best moment with Vancouver Whitecaps? 

Unfortunately for Doneil one moment that many Vancouver fans will remember was his own goal against Toronto FC, his former club, in the 2018 Voyageurs Cup final! If you take a look at his highlight reel you'll realize that there are plenty of better reasons to think of Doneil Henry. Suwon fans will soon learn to appreciate him playing for their club, and hopefully he'll play as well for them as he did here in Vancouver.

 

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