Kylian Mbappe “has already grown up” and is ahead of where France greats Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet were at a similar age, France coach Didier Deschamps has said.
Henry and Trezeguet were 20 when they were part of the France squad Deschamps captained to the 1998 World Cup but played bit-part roles in the success, only really becoming established in the side that won the European Championship two years later.
Mbappe, 19, scored four goals, including one in the final, and started all but one of France’s games as they won the World Cup in Russia.
“He knows he does things others don’t. He’s intelligent, he listens,” Deschamps told Le Parisien. “I tell him when he does things well, but so many people say that.
“I’m also there to tell him what’s not good, even if that represents only five percent of his game. He corrects it and he listens.
“In 1998, David Trezeguet and Thierry Henry were his age but didn’t have the same role. Kylian is already grown up.
“I have played with very good players. I have also coached them. But him, it’s not only the quality. In terms of his age…With what he does now and what he should do in the future, I have always said, I’m very happy he’s French.”
Mbappe told TF1 he would have to put France’s triumph to the back of his mind as he turned his attention back to winning trophies with his club.
“I will be back with PSG. It will be a year where we try to win everything. Every match will have to be efficient,” he said.
“I will have to forget that I am a world champion. I will be PSG’s Kylian Mbappe and I will have to prove myself all over. Each year, you have to reset, as if you have done nothing to prove yourself — that is the highest level. I will return to PSG and I will give everything for the team.”
Pele is the only player younger than Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappe to have scored in a World Cup final, striking as a 17-year-old in Brazil’s 1958 success.
He jokingly suggested on Twitter that he would have to come out of retirement if Mbappe continued matching his feats.
“It’s really extremely flattering to be compared to a player like that, even if I never saw him — he’s one of those people you don’t need to have seen play,” Mbappe told TF1.
“Everyone knows he made his mark on history for all time. As I have said and will say again, he’s a step above. It’s not the same planet, but it’s important to be in those kinds of areas to be able to keep improving and enter into history.”
Meanwhile, Deschamps voiced frustration with Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot after he rejected Deschamps’ offer to be one of seven standby players for the World Cup.
“What deeply disappointed me is that he could have such an attitude in relation to the shirt, even if I’ll give him the fact that he is perhaps not the only one responsible,” the coach said.
Asked whether Rabiot could return to the fold if he apologised, the coach added: “That’s up to him. He’s part of a generation that has a lot of difficulty apologising.”
Information from ESPN FC’s PSG correspondent Jonathan Johnson was used in this report.