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Jamie Redknapp has claimed that Eric Cantona was ‘not in the same league’ as Thierry Henry as a player.

The former Man Utd captain is regarded as one of the club’s all-time greats, and won four Premier League titles before hanging up his boots prematurely at the age of 31.

Cantona’s reasoning for retiring was that he ‘wanted to go out on top’, and few could argue with his standing in English football at the time.

He had already quit the game by the time Henry touched down in the UK, but in a discussion over the Premier League’s greatest foreign imports, Redknapp feels the ex-Arsenal man was streets ahead of his fellow Frenchman.

Speaking of Cantona on Sky Sports, Redknapp said: “He had big moments in the Premier League, he was just different.

Redknapp says Cantona influenced United and gave them belief
Redknapp says Cantona influenced United and gave them belief (Image: EMPICS Sport)

“You felt there was a bit of that arrogance he created, there was so much mystique about him, you heard the rumors about him as a person…

“Look, I’m leaving myself open to a bit of ridicule here. I’ve played against a lot better players than him, trust me.

“But he just had that something special, in the big moments. If you’re comparing to someone like Thierry Henry, for example, I don’t think he’d be in the same league.

But he feels Cantona was not in the same league as Henry
But he feels Cantona was not in the same league as Henry (Image: Action Images via Reuters)

“But the influence that he had at United and the fact they still all sing his name tells you how much he is loved at that football club.”

Redknapp witnessed United’s Cantona-inspired dominance first hand in the early to mid-nineties.

Having seen off the challenge of Liverpool to seal the domestic title, Cantona grabbed United’s late winner in the FA Cup final between the sides in 1996.

After helping United successfully defend the title the following year, Cantona announced his decision to retire, meaning there was no overlap with Henry, who arrived two seasons later.

“He [Cantona] wasn’t necessarily the quickest, he had a fantastic touch, he’d bring people in to play,” Redknapp added.

“The big European nights, he perhaps didn’t have the influence on those games, the big occasions. But I think it was the all-round belief he gave that United team.


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“Until you play against someone and you see their talent, you see sometimes how great they are. That was the same with Thierry. Everyone could see it but also playing against him made you realize it even more.

“Eric like all great players had time. That was the one thing I always noticed. Every time the ball went close to him it felt like he had a second more than everybody else. He was an incredibly talented player.”


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