HE is the English goalkeeper who this weekend will face the greatest attack ever assembled.
But Etienne Green has such little interest in football outside of playing it that he could not care less for the names of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi.
That world-famous trio is who Green will be coming up against when superstar-studded Paris Saint-Germain visit his Saint-Etienne on Sunday.
Yet the England Under-21 goalkeeper said: “For me it’s another game of football. To be honest, I don’t really care who I play against.
“I don’t really watch football outside of our games. I heard (Marc-Andre) Ter Stegen at Barcelona is the same.
“We play football every day, so why stick to football in our free time?
“I like volleyball. I’m not allowed to play it but I like watching it. I like cycling, the same as (Watford keeper) Ben Foster.”
Footballers showing no interest in their industry beyond playing it may be rare, but it is not new.
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Tottenham defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto famously said he played ‘for money’ and that the game was ‘not my passion’.
Arsenal’s £50million signing Ben White revealed in October he had never seen Gunners legend Patrick Vieira play and that he rarely watches matches.
Green is in a similar camp to White, who could one day be a Three Lions colleague.
He feels they spend so much time training and playing that turning on the TV to take in a game is the last thing he would want to do.
So, what would be a perfect football-free weekend for the 6ft4ins stopper?
Green, 21, replied: “Probably going to a restaurant with my girlfriend and my friends. I don’t know, go to the cinema. Go go-karting as well.
“It’s electric go-karting (we do), it’s quite safe. There’s quite a big one for me!”
Green is likely the English keeper you have never heard of.
That is possibly because he only switched allegiances to the Three Lions in August.
He was born in Colchester to an English mother and French mother, but moved across the Channel aged four.
Green is named after Saint-Etienne, the town from where his mum hails, and joined the club of the same name in 2009.
Financial issues at the club managed by ex-Southampton and Leicester boss Claude Puel accelerated his pathway to the first-team.
France called him up to their Under-21 squad for their Euros campaign in the summer, though he did not make an appearance.
Then England came calling and he now has two Young Lions caps, which came in October’s 1-0 qualifier with in Andorra and the 3-2 friendly loss to Georgia earlier this month.
Now he faces his biggest test, taking on the greatest player of all time.
Yet when asked if he remembers any matches of the legendary Messi – even if he does not watch many games, surely there must be one moment – the blunt keeper replied: “Not really, no.
“I remember a game against Man City where Joe Hart had a huge game. I don’t really care about other players other than goalkeepers!
“I liked Joe Hart. I liked his playing style, his big saves.
“Yeah, sure (I model some of my game on him). He’s quite a tall keeper, takes up a lot of space in the goal, makes great spreads.”
“I think he was playing in a green jersey (against Barcelona).”
He was, it was in 2015 when Manchester City lost 1-0 in the Nou Camp but Hart was sensational. “Phenomenal” was the word Messi used to describe City’s No1.
Green will have to put in a similarly unstoppable display to keep out PSG’s terrific trio, which will be a tough ask based on the team’s form this season.
Saint-Etienne are currently three points off the bottom of Ligue 1 and only won their first game of the season in the fixture before the international break.
Inspirational captain Mathieu Debuchy – previously of Newcastle and Arsenal – has left which has left an inexperienced backline reeling.
Green is yet to keep a clean sheet this term too, which does not bode well.
But it seems unlikely the goalie will be overawed, as he reiterated: “It will be like every other game, but just knowing you’re probably going to face the best team you’ll ever face.”
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