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