Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland ‘can’t compare to a young Michael Owen at Liverpool’, insists former Reds teammate Emile Heskey

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Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland might be being hailed as the next poster boys in world football, but talkSPORT has been told they’re not in the same league as a young Michael Owen.

The Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund starlets are the talk of the game after putting their names up in lights on their return to Champions League action this week.

Kylian Mbappe overshadowed Lionel Messi as he plundered three goals at the Nou Camp

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Kylian Mbappe overshadowed Lionel Messi as he plundered three goals at the Nou Camp
Erling Haaland has scored 18 Champions League goals at just 20 years old

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Erling Haaland has scored 18 Champions League goals at just 20 years old

Mbappe scored a hat-trick in PSG’s stunning 4-1 victory over Barcelona at the Nou Camp, while Haaland netted two goals and grabbed an assist against Sevilla.

The pair have even been touted as ‘the new Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’ after outshining the football greats this week, with Messi cutting a sad figure at the Nou Camp and Ronaldo’s Juventus losing to Porto.

But former Liverpool striker Emile Heskey says there’s another player often left out of the discussion, his old teammate Owen.

It’s perhaps easy to forget how sensational a player Owen was, from when he first burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old at Anfield.

The striker plundered the goals at the very top level from a young age, led the Reds to four major trophies, shouldered the hopes of a nation for England and won the Ballon d’Or all by the age of 22.

Of course, his legacy will always be tainted by his injury record that meant he perhaps could never really fulfil his incredible potential, but there’s little doubt of Owen’s place as one of the country’s best-ever players.

Michael Owen won the Premier League Golden Boot at the age of just 18… and won it the next year too!

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Michael Owen won the Premier League Golden Boot at the age of just 18… and won it the next year too!

And Heskey says Mbappe and Haaland don’t have a patch on him, just yet at least.

“Whenever everyone talks about stats and young players coming through at a certain age, I always go to Michael,” Heskey told Kick Off.

“I start comparing them with him, and a lot of them don’t compare to him.

“For the stuff he did and the age he did it at, and his maturity at that age as well.

“But then again, you play from the age of 16 and you’re going to pick up injuries – and that was his downfall, the amount of football he was playing.”

Owen shot to fame at Liverpool, winning the Ballon d’Or and earning a move to Real Madrid’s Galacticos side

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Owen shot to fame at Liverpool, winning the Ballon d’Or and earning a move to Real Madrid’s Galacticos side

Heskey isn’t the only one frustrated by the recent furore surrounding Mbappe and Haaland.

While nobody could doubt their talent and scoring record – Mbappe’s a World Cup winner after all – talkSPORT’s Ally McCoist can’t believe fans and pundits are seriously comparing the pair to Messi and Ronaldo – two of the best in football history.

In fact, the Rangers and Scotland legend could barely contain his outrage on Thursday’s Breakfast show.

“Mbappe is different class… but I do not think for a minute that he can do things with a ball that Messi can do,” said McCoist.

Andros Townsend, Laura Woods and Ally McCoist debate who the best players in the world right now are – no Messi or Ronaldo?

“Messi is one of the greatest players who has ever lived on this earth!

“Mbappe is an excellent young player who will go on to be fantastic, but there’s a difference.

“If someone would tell me Mbappe is going to outshine Messi as a football player, I would be staggered.

“He’ll go on to have a great career and he’ll be an absolutely top player, but are we writing Messi off?

“This is annoying me! Messi is one of the best players this planet has ever seen!

“What we’re dealing with is a young man who had a brilliant game at the Nou Camp, scored a hat-trick and has a wonderful future.

“But come on, everybody calm down and have a wee think about Messi, what he’s achieved, the player he is and the talent we will never, ever, ever forget.”