Kylian Mbappe is determined to prevent teenager Evan Ferguson from adding another chapter to his footballing fairy tale as France take on the Republic of Ireland in a Euro 2024 qualifier.
Mbappe scored two goals on Friday Rout 4-0 of the Netherlands and will captain the French in Dublin on Monday.
Ferguson was on target as the Republic beat Latvia 3-2 in a friendly last week on his first senior start.
“He’s a good striker, an important striker for this team,” Mbappe said.
Fergusson, 18, marked twice to help Brighton reach the FA Cup semi-finals and drew running criticism in his first season in the Premier League.
“We’ve seen clips of him, of course,” added the 24-year-old Paris St Germain star, who scored three goals in the World Cup final in December.
“But we hope tomorrow he won’t do anything and that means we’ll win and we’ll do our job. But he’s a good player.”
Mbappe’s brace against the Dutch took him to 38 senior international goals, just three less than Michel Platini, the next target in his sights.
He said: “For me it’s an honor to be at this stage. It’s my next goal and I will continue, maybe tomorrow, maybe not.
“Obviously Michel Platini is a legend in French football, but I’m going to get over that at some point.”
France coach Didier Deschamps expects his captain to do just that, but is confident collective, rather than individual, goals will continue to fuel him.
He said: “It’s Kylian, he’s full of ambition, always setting new goals, new goals.
“But the group, the collective, comes first. He got past people quickly, but his motivation is to keep going.”
In the short term, adding three points to those conceded on Friday night is the main concern and while an aggregate win has proved the perfect start to the campaign, Mbappe is acutely aware that there is still a long way to go.
He said: “We can’t get ahead of ourselves, but nevertheless I think we put in a very good performance.
“But we’re not going to qualify just by beating the Netherlands, we still have a very tough game ahead of us on Monday.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Deschamps, who knows from experience how dangerous the Irish can be after Robbie Brady gave them a 1-0 lead over the Euro 2016 hosts from the penalty spot in Lyon before ‘Antoine Griezmann only strikes twice to secure a place in the quarter-finals.
He said: “Now there’s a new generation with new players. Ferguson is a threat, a good player, (Mikey) Johnston has also joined the team. He’s a mix of young and experienced players.
“But our team is also different. Ireland are known for being direct and vertical in the way they play, but from what I’ve seen in recent games they are also capable of playing the ball on the ground. “