Player Profile: King Eric

Early Days

Eric Cantona, played in his native France in his early years before heading across the Channel to further his progress.

A successful trial at Sheffield Wednesday, led to an offer from Leeds United and in 1991 he won the first decision.

Eric was magnificent helping Leeds secure the title scoring 9 goals in 28 games.

Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson was an admirer of Eric and saw him as the missing piece to United winning the title.

After a phone call to Howard Wilkinson, Ferguson persuaded Leeds to sell him for £1.2m and the rest is history.

Playing Style

Eric played with a real confidence and panache. It quickly made him a crowd favourite with the passionate Manchester United fans.

Eric was a tall man (6ft 2), not quick but was well built.

This proved a daunting prospect for the opposition. He also had a fantastic footballing brain, strength, excelled in the air.

Mentor

Eric’s career really took off over the next five years. A terrific mentor for the likes of David Beckham and Paul Scholes saw them winning trophy after trophy.

A remarkable character he managed 64 goals in 143 games which led to four titles and two FA cups.

Eric’s sublime winning volley against Liverpool in 1996 was pure testament to the man.

Retirement

Eric decided to retire from football after securing the Premier League title in 1997. He was 31.

A realisation had sunk in that he had lost his appetite as reported by Esquire.

A love affair ended between the Gallic Frenchman and the Manchester United faithful that day but he had forever won their hearts.

France International

Eric also represented France at national level and finished after 45 games with a very respectable goal tally of 20.

He was unfortunate to be around just before France were hitting their peak. The emerging talent of Zinedine Zidane would see him playing less.

France, eventually finding that clinical edge went on to become World and European Championship winners.

Eric played with the skilful talents of Christophe Dugarry, and Renold Pedros whose displays were indulged and deemed more important than the result (Paul Newman of the Independent).

Life After Football

In recent years Eric has made cameo appearances in films where he can show his artistic talents.

He always receives a big welcome from the fans when he comes back to Old Trafford.

Reference

  1. https://www.esquire.com/uk/culture/news/a18812/eric-cantona-reveals-the-moment-he-realised-he-had-to-retire/
  2. https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/cantona-and-ginola-omitted-by-france-1348207.html