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At just 23-years-old Kylian Mbappe stands on the edge of not only winning two World Cups but having inspired his nation to both of those triumphs. Despite that, some are yet to be convinced about the electric PSG forward. Amongst his detractors is former England international striker Jay Bothroyd, who took to TalkSport yesterday to hammer Mbappe’s all round game.
What did Bothroyd say?
Bothroyd, who often appears on Sky Sports as a pundit, was appearing on hit radio station TalkSport yesterday where he was asked for his opinion in the Greatest of all Time debate and, specifically, whether or not Mbappe has the potential to build a legacy that can be compared to that of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi; the latter of whom Mbappe will face off with in the World Cup final this weekend.
Bothroyd was quick and brutal in his response as he labelled Mbappe a “speed merchant” and suggested he was just an injury away from his career falling into nothingness. Although Bothroyd was happy to define Mbappe as a “top player” his inability to show variation is his game was critical in his decision making.
Bothroyd cited that Mbappe has “not showed me anything to suggest he can modify his game”. For this reason, the former QPR striker who made just the solitary appearance for England during his career, believes Mbappe is incapable of matching the longevity achieved by Ronaldo and Messi. Instead, Bothroyd think Mbappe’s career will play out in a fashion to another former England man – Michael Owen. Owen famously burst on the scene as an 18-year-old but playing too much football too young saw a series of muscle injuries pile up and, eventually, that raw electric pace deserted him.
Is Bothroyd right to doubt Mbappe?
It would be fair to say that Bothroyd’s comments raised an eyebrow or two with fans. From where we sit, that’s understandable. A look over Mbappe’s stats and honours list puts him up there with the best in the business. His first full season as a senior pro saw him score 26 goals as he tore things up for Monaco, including bagging half a dozen goals in the Champions League. That campaign earned him a money spinning move to French giants PSG as they shelled out £165m.
Since landing with the Parisiens, Mbappe has gone from strength to strength. Over that time, he’s played 237 games and racked up 190 goals and 93 assists giving him a goal contribution every 67 minutes. On top of just scoring and creating goals for fun, Mbappe has also scooped a host of trophies in Paris having won nine major honours in addition to the Ligue 1 title he won with Monaco in his debut season.
Combine all of that with a glittering international career that has seen Mbappe win a World Cup and Nations League and remind yourself that he’s on the brink of winning ‘the big one’ again as well as having the chance to win the Golden Boot and you’re hard pressed to agree with Bothroyd.
Of course, Bothroyd’s comments were tilted towards doubting Mbappe’s ability to adapt his game as the years tick by rather than hammering him right now. In that sense, we might have to wait and see how things play out. We’re pretty sure Mbappe will retire having enjoyed a better career than Bothroyd though.
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