RB Leipzig midfielder Tyler Adams has named Thierry Henry as the inspiration behind a career which, if his Bundesliga debut is anything to go by, may well be as memorable as the former Arsenal and Barcelona striker's.
As debuts go, Adams' Bundesliga bow in RB Leipzig's 4-0 win at Fortuna Düsseldorf on Matchday 19 was up there with the best of them. The USMNT rookie was named bundesliga.com's Man of the Matchday for impression he made, and had more than just Leipzig fans licking their lips.
Kids all over the world may soon have a Tyler Adams poster on their walls, and who knows if it won't provide the same inspiration French World Cup-winner Henry, who played for Adams' former club New York Red Bulls between February 2012-January 2015, had on a certain young boy from the Big Apple.
"As a kid, I had a poster of Thierry Henry in my room," Adams told Germany's Bild newspaper. "I often watched his games for Arsenal or Barcelona. I was then able to train with him. I became a professional because of Henry. He was my motivation."
Watch: Tyler Adams impresses on Leipzig debut
The little-known American is bound to be on the tips of people's tongues in weeks and months to come, and that would be his hard-earned reward for a long pathway to professional football which was not without its challenges – overcome largely with the help of his mum.
"That's right, they don't have boarding in academies in the USA so I would go to school from eight until three and then my mum would drive me 80 miles to training," he said. "Then we'd go home after, so I was often not back home before midnight."
"It was my mum who sent me to play football when I was four, and she was also my first coach. I'm incredibly grateful to her. She even quit working one year because when I signed my first professional contract, I still didn't have a driving licence, so my mum would drive me to training every morning."
Not only did Henry and his mum inspire Adams to fight for a career in the game, though.
"I would hear over and over again from my coaches as I grew up how minimal the chance was of becoming a professional," Adams said. "I took that as a challenge. Nobody's going to touch me when I'm on the field. I want to be the best out there."
If his lung-busting first outing in the Bundesliga is anything to go by, Adams is a man of his word, and this can only be good news for Leipzig as they appear to have unearthed another raw diamond.
The Top 5 North Americans in the Bundesliga
The 2021/22 season promises to be one of the most compelling yet for viewers in the United States and Canada, with such an array of talent on display.
Bayern vs. Leipzig: where will it be won and lost?
We size up the Bundesliga's top two ahead of Saturday's heavyweight encounter at the Allianz Arena.
A US group chat with Adams, Sargent and Reyna
2020/21 promises to be a statement season for US stars Gio Reyna, Tyler Adams and Josh Sargent.