England vs France: Gary Neville and Roy Keane explain how England can stop Kylian Mbappe


Kyle Walker has been backed to nullify the threat of Kylian Mbappe when England play France in the World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.

The 23-year-old forward, who scored four times en route to Les Bleus winning the 2018 tournament in Russia, leads the race for the Golden Boot in Qatar with five goals after a brace in the 3-1 last-16 victory over Poland.

Mbappe headed into the World Cup looking as lethal an attacking force as ever, having netted 19 times for Paris Saint-Germain in 20 Ligue 1 and Champions League appearances this season to take his goal tally for the club since joining in 2017 close to 200.

He subsequently scored a header, and set one up for Olivier Giroud, as France opened their Qatar campaign with a 4-1 win over Australia, notched two more goals in the 2-1 defeat of Denmark that followed, and then struck twice again, as well as teeing up another Giroud effort, against Poland on Sunday.

With nine overall, Mbappe already has the same number of World Cup goals as Lionel Messi, and one more than Cristiano Ronaldo.

It looks as if right-back Walker will be the player to go directly up against Mbappe when England square off against him, and some notable names have expressed their belief in the 32-year-old’s ability to do the containing job.

Poland defender Matty Cash, after facing the France forward on Sunday, said he thinks “if anyone’s going to stop Mbappe, Kyle is the man”.

And former England right-back Gary Neville said of Walker that he “can’t actually think of another right-back in the world that I’d want to put up against” Mbappe.

He added: “This is a sensational player, the new best player in the world. (But) Kyle will get closer to him, he’s got more pace than the Polish players had.”

Neville’s former Manchester United teammate Roy Keane emphasised it was not a one-man job, saying: “You double up, you get bodies around him. If you give him that much space, you are in trouble.”

Neville also said thwarting some of Mbappe’s fellow forwards would be crucial, saying: “I think one of the things that’s really important is stopping the service into Giroud and (Antoine) Griezmann because once they get the ball, Mbappe’s going to receive it in far more difficult areas.

“So the lads in the middle, (Jordan) Henderson, (Jude) Bellingham, (Declan) Rice, Stones and (Harry) Maguire, if they can stop that service into that central area it means Mbappe’s receiving far less dangerous passes.”

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