Newcastle United’s Kieran Trippier has not started the last two England games after being replaced by Kyle Walker, and Gary Neville believes the latter is the man to deal with Kylian Mbappe on Saturday.
The Three Lions beat Senegal 3-0 on Sunday night, setting up a World Cup Quarter Final with France. Gareth Southgate’s side are going to need to knock out the defending champions if they are to bring football home.
Didier Deschamps has a sensational squad, with the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud enjoying excellent tournaments so far.
Then you’ve got Mbappe. The Paris Saint-Germain forward has been the player of the tournament, and currently leads the goalscoring charts with five goals. He got two in France’s win over Poland, both of which were outrageously good finishes.
Mbappe is on course to win the Golden Boot, and will believe he can also win his second World Cup at the age of 23.
But England are out to stop him, and Neville thinks Manchester City’s Kyle Walker can match France’s talisman.
Gary Neville on Kyle Walker vs Kylian Mbappe
Ahead of England vs France, Neville spoke to Sky Sports about how the Three Lions can handle Mbappe.
“Mbappe – I think we’ve got the best right-back in the world to be able to deal with him,” Neville said.
“That’s not to say we’ve got the best right-back in the world, but in terms of physicality, pace, experience, I couldn’t think of anybody better to match Kylian Mbappe than Kyle Walker.
“That doesn’t mean to say he’ll keep him quiet for 90 minutes because Mbappe is sensational. He’s so special, it’s untrue. It’s very difficult to do that.
“But we’ve got a chance because we’ve got a player who can match him in certain areas.”
Joe Willock left Kyle Walker for dead
Toon fans would rather see Trippier in the side, but Walker is better suited to facing Mbappe. He has the speed and strength to go toe-to-toe with him.
And in hindsight, I’d prefer to see Walker get embarrassed by Mbappe instead of Newcastle’s number two.
But while Neville thinks Walker is the best player in the world to be able to deal with Mbappe, he seems to be forgetting what a certain Newcastle player did to the 32-year-old earlier this season.
Eddie Howe’s side drew 3-3 with Man City back in August, where Walker was given a torrid time. Allan Saint-Maximin gave him the run around, and enjoyed his best game of the season. And there was a moment in the game where Walker was dominated by another Toon player.
Joe Willock picked up possession in his own half, and decided to go for a run rather than pass to a teammate.
The 23-year-old wasn’t overawed by the challenge of beating Walker, and instead left him for dead. Willock showcased incredible speed and power to get away from him – it was out of this world. He made Walker look ordinary.
Now Willock is clearly quick to beat the Premier League winner, but Mbappe is on another level when it comes to speed. So maybe Walker isn’t the best in the world when it comes to stopping France’s main man.
We will find out on Saturday night, but perhaps Mbappe will simply be unstoppable.