In Saturday’s World Cup quarterfinal, James Maddison, Gary Neville, and others have backed Kyle Walker to “do a job” on France star Kylian Mbappe.
With five goals in the tournament thus far, Mbappe, who has been in outstanding form in Qatar, is in the lead for the Golden Boot.
On Sunday, the 23-year-old scored twice to help France defeat Poland and go to the quarterfinals. England also advanced with a 3-0 victory against Senegal.
And Neville thinks Walker is Gareth Southgate’s best chance to keep Mbappe quiet ahead of Saturday’s match between England and France for a spot in the World Cup semifinal.
Neville backs Walker to contain Mbappe
When England plays France in the World Cup quarterfinals, Kyle Walker can stop Kylian Mbappe because, in Gary Neville’s words, he is “the best right-back in the world” at stopping the forward.
Neville said to ITV Sport, “I can’t think of any right-back in the world—I may be a little bit stupid here—that I’d like to put up against him.”
“That is not to mean that Kyle will remove him from the contest. The new top player in the world, this player is outstanding. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are nearing the twilight of their careers.”
“Kyle would approach him more quickly than the Polish defenders, but those strikes were fantastic.”
Gary Neville believes Kyle Walker is the best right-back to match up against Kylian Mbappe 💪 pic.twitter.com/N8lxhhfDJM
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) December 5, 2022
Maddison names Walker as the ideal match to face Kylian Mbappe
When England takes on France in the World Cup quarterfinal on Saturday, James Maddison feels Kyle Walker is the only right-back who can stop Kylian Mbappe.
“Mbappe is undoubtedly one of the top players in the world.” He told talkSPORT. “I’m confident we’ll be well-prepared to attempt and stop him.”
“I believe Walker is the only person who can do the job. one of the top full-backs in the world.”
“There are many things to be on the lookout for, but with the tactical work we do and the staff’s work behind the scenes, things will likely turn out well, and we can advance.”
Matty Cash has also backed Kyle Walker to stop Kylian Mbappe.
Matty Cash has backed Kyle Walker to stop Kylian Mbappe — and admitted the 23-year-old “burned his legs” during #FRA's victory over #POL pic.twitter.com/Rq3KII8qHj
— The Athletic | Football (@TheAthleticFC) December 5, 2022
Is Kyle Walker fast enough to deal with Mbappe?
The sheer speed that France possesses out wide will be one of the biggest challenges facing Gareth Southgate’s team at the Al Bayt Stadium.
Many England supporters believe Kyle Walker to be the member of the squad most suited to deal with pure speed, so it’s not surprising that they are clamouring for him to remain on the team.
Walker is, after all, regarded as one of the fastest players by many of his former and current colleagues, and the Manchester City star will undoubtedly need that burst of speed against Les Bleus.
On Saturday, we see Kyle Walker vs. Kylian Mbappé [🏴 v 🇫🇷]
2 of the fastest players in world football 💨 pic.twitter.com/EMdh4VwPRo
— mcfc lads (@mcfc_lads) December 5, 2022
Furthermore, all it takes to understand the situation is to look at how Didier Deschamps set up his team for the 3-0 victory over Poland: Kylian Mbappe on the left and Ousmane Dembele on the right.
When Manchester City and PSG squared off in the Champions League, Walker performed even better against Mbappe, which is even more significant given who Deschamps typically favours on Walker’s side of the field.
Walker, however, is unquestionably the best candidate to represent England in a race against time, regardless of what Deschamps throws at him. As a result, Southgate must play Walker on Saturday.