Kyle Walker has promised to make life as tough as possible on Kylian Mbappe when the pair go head-to-head in England’s quarter-final with France on Saturday.
The pair have had many thrilling battles at club level in the Champions League and Walker’s yesterday’s press conference was dominated by questions of how he can nullify the current top scorer in Qatar.
We will give respect but I’m not going to roll out a red carpet for him to score. It’s do-or-die as if we lose we go home.
He added, when pressed on how someone as talented as Mbappe is stopped: ‘I do understand what I need to do and that’s to stop him. It’s probably easier said than done but I don’t underestimate myself.
‘I’ve come across great players before so I just treat it like another game.
‘I’ll give him the respect he deserves but not too much because this is England. No one player makes a team. This isn’t tennis, it isn’t a solo sport.’
Prior to the last-16 win over Senegal, BBC presenter Gary Lineker urged Gareth Southgate to rest Walker so he would be well rested for the challenge of taking on Mbappe.
Lineker, speaking on BBC suggested Walker is so crucial to dealing with the threat of Mbappe against France, and that he needed to be protected at all costs in a game England were expected to comfortably win – as they did, with a 3-0 win.
“Why would you play Kyle Walker when he is the only full-back on the planet who could keep up with Kylian Mbappe?’ Lineker asked.
‘No disrespect to Senegal, but you have to rest him. Especially in an area we are blessed in and could play Kieran Trippier or Trent Alexander-Arnold.’
Walker went on to play 90 minutes. –Mailonline