Expert view from France: Kylian Mbappe a 'very rare talent'
Kylian Mbappe is being heralded as the 'new Thierry Henry' after making a fast start to his Ligue 1 career at Monaco, so we asked Cyril Morin from our Paris office for an expert opinion on the wonderkid.
The talented teenager scored an outstanding hat-trick at the weekend as the Ligue 1 leaders demolished Metz 5-0, and inevitably talk turned to a big potential summer move.
Eighteen-year-old Mbappe became the youngest player to score a Ligue 1 hat-trick since 2005, just five minutes after half-time on Saturday, leading his coach, Leonardo Jardim, to praise the starlet's all-round contribution.
" I congratulated Mbappe for his three goals and for all of his work, defensively as much as offensively."
'Mbappe is from a different planet'
French football expert Julien Laurens told BT Sport that Mbappe "is from a different planet" and is a better player now than Arsenal legend Henry was at 18 years old.
So to Morin's expert view on the player who has become such an exciting prospect...
How big is the hype around Mbappe?
Very big, of course. To score a hat-trick at his age is very rare. Only Ousmane Dembele, Karim Benzema and Jeremy Menez managed to do this after the turn of the century. So we are looking at him very closely indeed. What is more, his skills - dribbling, speed and technique - make him very exciting to watch.
Is Mbappe better than Henry was at the same age?
Is he better than Henry was at the same age? It is not entirely clear, but he certainly plays more regularly and is already an important player for Monaco. At the same age, Henry was just getting into the rotation of the team as a fringe player.
It is impossible to compare the two players right now, quite honestly, as it is much more common to launch a young player into a first team in Ligue 1 now than it was when Henry was emerging.
What about Mbappe’s playing style?
The comparison between Mbappe and Henry can certainly be made in this regard. The pair have the same style: very fast and direct with wonderful dribbling skills. Henry began his career on the left wing and Mbappe is also used in that role on occasions.
Mbappe probably has more quality in one-on-one situations, but is probably less ruthless in front of goal compared to Henry at the end of his career. Only time will tell if Mbappe can improve in this area.
Kylian Mbappé (AS Monaco)AFP
What about his personality and rise to fame?
Mbappe's fast development meant that he was always playing in older age-group teams progressing through the ranks. Because of this, he was always being watched very closely by scouts from the age of 11 or 12.
In regards to his personality, he talks like a very wise man, belying his age. He is very close to his father and has his feet very well grounded.