*NEWS – JUST IN* ‘A teenager has broken into the Monaco 1st team’.. ‘Wait and he’s French? AND he plays as a striker! He must be the next Thierry Henry!’
Forgive my sarcastic approach to the beginning of this article, but I’m getting a feeling of déjà vu; and I’m no mystic meg.
There was a great deal of hype surrounding Loic Remy when he initially burst onto the scene, a player who has been known to score spectacular goals in his time but also one who has been known to suffer from Jamie Redknapp-itis. (Spending more time on the physio table than on the pitch).
Anthony Martial has also been another player who has fallen foul of being compared to Henry since his mega bucks money to Manchester United. Albeit it started out promising for Martial, with a mazy solo goal against Liverpool. An instant way to all United fan’s hearts. But since those first few games, he’s struggled to live up to the hype of being ‘The Next Thierry Henry’.
But there is something different about Kylian Mbappé.
He plays with belief that he should be playing at the highest level – demanding for the ball, a continually calmness on the pitch; with or without the ball, and most importantly he has a deadly instinct for goal.
Henry was known for his ability to calmly score from one -on-one situations and also loved to operate outside the opponents area before picking up speed and running with the ball.
During the victorious 2nd leg tie against Manchester City on Wednesday night, an instinct moment resonated with me that perhaps Mbappé – the young pretend could actually be the real deal to Henry’s Monaco crown.
Early in the game, Monaco managed to turn over the ball in midfield and caught Manchester City on the break. Bakayoko threaded a ball through, just outside the area for Mbappé to run on to. With Kolarov closing him down, he calmly pushed the ball past the incoming defender and ran onto the ball, before forcing Caballero to make a fine save.
Very Henry – esque.
Fig 1. Kolarov closing down Mbappé.
Fig 2. Mbappé evades the Manchester City defender with ease.
Watch the footage in full here – Go to 0.15 seconds on the video!
But it isn’t just the split second decisions on the pitch, that are leading to a queue of pundits and journalists ready to compare Mbappé, to World Cup winner and all time national goalscorer Henry.
The stats don’t lie either – Kylian has not only become Monaco’s youngest ever senior debutant at the tender age of 16 years and 347 days old but he has also broken the youngest goalscoring record for the club too at aged 17. Records both previously held by – yep you guessed it, one Thierry Henry.
Notably the youngest ever senior debutant record stood for 21 years.
No question about it, Kylian Mbappé is flying – after scoring against Man City in midweek, he now has scored 11 goals in his last 11 games in all competitions. Form like that doesn’t go unnoticed. So much so, he now finds himself being awarded with his first call-up to the full Senior International side for friendlies later this month against Luxembourg & Spain.
It would appear he has taken his opportunity with both hands, and relishes playing in Leonardo Jardim’s attacking focused side.
It wouldn’t be unjust either to suggest that at this current time in his career Mbappé, looks more developed as a striker than Henry was at the same time.
Henry made his senior career debut in 1994 for Monaco as we know, but it took him until the 1997/98 season before he really started having an impact for Monaco – helping them reach the Semi – Finals of the Champions League.
That 1997/98 season was also the first time Henry, scored over 10 goals in a campaign in all competitions, a feat that Mbappé has already reached in his first full season – he already has 17 for the season.
It is true that Henry spent the majority of development on the wings, but even so – it would appear that Mbappé is heading for the very top.
In 10 years time, we could be talking about a new all time leading goalscorer for the French. One thing for certain is that if Kylian Mbappé can go on to have anywhere near the career as Thierry Henry had, he will be incredibly successful.
It will be interesting to see how this young talents career unfolds, but the future looks bright for French Football with the emergence of other talents such as Ousmane Dembélé.
There will be a lot of European defenders gulping at the prospect of having to mark these two over the coming years!
Ta for Reading,