Eurosport France's Glenn Ceillier looked at Kylian Mbappe's younger brother, Ethan Mbappe, and discovered just what the teenager could offer in his own right.
On the steps of the Elysee, in the stands at the 2018 World Cup, as a ballboy at the Parc des Princes and in his kit at UNFP (French National Professional Football players Union) trophy ceremonies, we have all seen Ethan Mbappe in photos.
Not yet 16, but football fans in France already know his face, and because his brother Kylian is one of the best players in the world, we already know his name.
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Even as a teenager Ethan Mbappe is used to the limelight and to generating speculation.
Ethan is regularly mentioned in the press and public expectation is mounting. He already has a contract with Nike, signed last may, after signing youth terms with PSG until 2024.
He currently plays in their under-17s, but who is he really? How does he cope with the weight of pressure? What type of footballer is he, and how far can he go? We spoke to members of the community who have watched his progress.
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A player ‘with real personality’
Psychologically, it appears that Ethan Mbappe can already handle the pressure. At PSG his mentality is well regarded and he manages to keep his feet on the ground. “He is a balanced, well-educated kid who is respectful even if he is obviously in the shadow of his brother today, which is not easy for him,” confides Laurent Glaize, former scout of Malherbe and close to the Mbappé family.
“But I find him calm and with a real personality. Looking at it from afar without being in the family every day, I find that he manages this pressure rather well. He does not mistake where he is in the game, even if he is already being asked for autographs more for his name, than for what he has done, because he is still very young."
Image credit: Getty Images
Born in December 2005, Ethan Mbappe was promoted this season to the U17s, who dominated their group early this season before losing in the semi-finals in the playoffs.
While staff praise his intelligence and how he reads the game, the younger Mbappe should not be compared with Kylian. " It would be the worst thing. He’s not at all the same profile as Kylian," warns Glaize. " He has a same technique. Ethan is more of a game player. Kylian is more of a breaking player: he goes very fast, he's a real offensive player. Whereas Ethan has the profile to play further back on the pitch."
If Kylian Mbappé quickly flourished in the offensive sector, his little brother is suited further down the field.
A central midfielder who can play at the heart of a 4-3-3, he was part of the under-16 French team last December, and has the skills to play at the heart of the game.
"Having seen him recently, he has a very good reading of the game. And plays well," observes Glaize. "He has a good pass and has good technique." A member of Le Havre's staff this season at U17 level, Abasse Ba, who has been able to watch him twice, agrees, saying: "He is a boy who has an interesting relationship with the ball.
“He has an ability to eliminate and win his one-on-ones. He is good in small spaces. I think he also has an interesting vision of the game. In this first leg, he managed to find two or three assists that we did not expect.”
His technique and his ability to use the ball come up regularly when we look at his footballing profile. "I found him interesting on passes, which were aimed forward,” adds Ba. “Between the first game and the second, I had the impression that he had progressed. He always had this intention to move into empty spaces, which is a sign of game intelligence. But he is a player who can still be improved." Of course - Ethan Mbappé not yet 16 years old.
HIS FUTURE ?
Between his heading game and his defensive efforts, he has much to improve.
“We must not forget that he is in full athletic development,” underlines Glaize. “He will bulk up as he ages, but I see him evolving. When you're 15 and you play with the U17s, there's still an athletic difference of two years from time to time. But at that age, two years, that's a lot. He has real talent, but not the same as his brother ."
So, he’s talented. But how talented? A question necessarily arises at this time: can he follow in the footsteps of his brother and join the professional world? " We can start to project ourselves at this age. And for me, Ethan today has the potential to be a professional player,” believes Glaize.
“It remains to be seen at what level. But that, nobody can predict. He plays for others, and it's important in modern football to have team players. He has to preserve himself, but his entourage is there for that." And at his age, that's the most important thing.
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