Aged seventeen years and eight months, the Paris Saint-Germain player could become the youngest player in the history of the French team since 1911 against Gibraltar. A record-breaker, the Parisian is equally impressive with his precocity. than his maturity, and is unanimously appreciated wherever he goes.
We are used to calling him talented, but Warren Zaire-Emery is also a paradoxical player. His records of precocity, whether with Paris Saint-Germain or the French team, could lead one to imagine a player in a hurry and quick to establish himself. But those who knew him all highlight his calm, his serenity, even his discretion, and have always done so.
Zaire Rahli, who saw him kick his first balls at FCM Aubervilliers between 2011 and 2014, remembers this dual personality very well.. “He was very reserved, shy. In the locker room, we had the impression that he was not with us », describes the educator. “But on the field, it was a different Warren. He was the driving force of the team. I was saying : “all balloons must pass through him“That way we were sure of winning.” So sure that the club does not hesitate to upgrade him by two years. “At seven years old, he finished as the best player in tournaments for nine-year-olds”he continues.
“Warren is giving off something”
Added to this certain talent was a respect and humility that his coaches continue to salute today. His parents, as well as his maternal grandmother, behind the handrail for each tournament weekend, always ensured their son’s good behavior.
On the ground, however, “the other Warren”, a confident leader, took power. “He was never afraid to play against older kids », notes Mr. Rahli. “When he entered a team or onto a field, it was to impose himself. » Warren Zaire-Emery left Aubervilliers for PSG at the age of just eight, but he has firmly established himself in the heart of his very first coach: “If I talk to you about today, I don’t have a child like Warren…”
Until now, Warren Zaire-Emery has kept the same recipe. Not the most talkative in front of the press nor the most whimsical on the pitch, he emanates a sensation of habit of the highest level. “When I see him playing with PSG, I have the impression that he has 400 matches in Ligue 1,” exclaims Thierry Henry, who managed Zaire-Emery in the French Espoirs team. In reality, there are ten times fewer (44). The former top scorer in the history of the Blues had also made the Parisian nugget the youngest captain of the Espoirs selection. Very quickly, Henry noticed the young player’s aura. “Warren is giving off something. It’s not through small bridges or returns, it’s a contagious serenity that makes you want to see him succeed, quite simply. »
Mature even before coming of age
For the former Arsenal striker, a scene, broadcast by PSG on its social networks, summarizes the Warren Zaire-Emery paradox. This takes place at Camp des Loges, the Parisian club’s training center. Lying on his bed, Zaire-Emery watches live as Didier Deschamps makes him the youngest Frenchman selected since 1911. Suddenly, his teammates burst in and throw themselves at him to congratulate him. Warren Zaire-Emery remains unfazed when everyone around is panicking. “He stays calm, there you go, it’s Warren” summarizes Thierry Henry.
Unfortunately for him, he saw the native of Montreuil (93) go to the other side of Clairefontaine, under the leadership of Didier Deschamps. The coach of the A, even if he asked “don’t overdo it with Warren”was immediately struck by his player’s state of mind. “There are some, at 30, they will not have the maturity that he has at seventeen. » He is not an adult, but Warren Zaire-Emery therefore displays more experience than pressure. This is yet another paradox.
How do we solve it? Very often with young players, the entourage plays a decisive role. There too, the young Parisian stands out. While most youngsters his age have been in a training center since their pre-adolescence, Warren Zaire-Emery still lives with his parents.
“My family helps me keep my head on my shoulders. She tells me what’s right and also what’s wrong.” explains the one who has to deal with his daily life as a footballer and that of a high school student preparing for the baccalaureate. As soon as the training is over, he takes off his crampons and heads to class. “I’m impressed to see how he combines football and school”, confides Dayot Upamecano, his brand new teammate with the Blues. Even there, Warren Zaire-Emery is ahead: with a 12 on the French written test, he is well on his way to winning the prize.