The Emergence of Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe, the 19-year-old French sensation has been a huge talk of excitement among supporters since his call-up to the French senior squad in March of 2017. Mbappe was considered one of the best prospects on French Football Federation’s youth teams. During his time in the youth system, he won the U-19 European Championship in 2016, scoring five goals, the second most scored by a player in the tournament.

Making his national team debut on March 27th, he came in as a substitute in a 3-1 win over Luxembourg, becoming the second youngest player to play for the French National Team at the senior level at 18 years of age. On June 13th, Mbappe made his first start for France in a friendly exhibition against England leading France to a 3-2 victory.

On August 31st, in a World Cup Qualifying match against the Netherlands, Mbappe scored his first senior international goal in a 4-0 win for France. He became the youngest scorer for France in over 50 years.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger strongly believes Mbappe is like French all-time leading scorer Thierry Henry. “He has an exceptional future,” he said. “He reminds me of a young Thierry Henry. He has the same smart look and the same qualities.”

When Mbappe made his professional debut for Monaco in December 2015, he became the youngest player in AS Monaco FC history to appear in a game, breaking a record that was previously held by Henry. Furthermore, when he scored his first Ligue 1 goal, he became the youngest player in the club’s history in to do so. Since his transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, PSG, from Monaco, Mbappe has made an impact. Last October, Mbappe broke the record of most goals scored by a teenager in the Champions League. Last November, Mbappe became the youngest player in a span of forty years to score 20 Ligue 1 goals in a season. A month later, he became the youngest player to score 10 goals in the UEFA Champions League tournament.

Didier Deschamps, the manager of the French National Soccer team, says he and the team praise Kylian and his talents. “We talk about him a lot,” he said. “What he does on the field is exceptional.”

Henry himself expressed his impression on Mbappe, but stated that he doesn’t make comparisons. “I don’t like comparing players,” he said. “Mbappe has to become Mbappe. And that’s all.”

Henry further stated that Mbappe’s intelligence impresses him more than anything. “I love watching him play because he thinks,” he said. “We never talk about a player’s intelligence and it annoys me. He (Mbappe) thinks when he plays and that for me is the most important thing in a player. He uses his brain.”

Mbappe himself stated that while being compared to Henry flatters him, it makes him uncomfortable. “Those are people’s opinions,” he said. “It’s flattering when a famous manager (Wenger) talks highly of you, but it’s just an opinion. I still have a lot of learning and work to do.”

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