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Walker picks ex-Liverpool star as toughest opponent ahead of facing Mbappe test with England

13:00 EAT 08/12/2022
Kyle Walker England 2022 World Cup
Kyle Walker has picked out his toughest opponent to date ahead of lining up against Kylian Mbappe in England’s World Cup quarter-final with France.
  • Man City defender has faced best in the business
  • Considers Mane to be the pick of that bunch
  • Looking to help Three Lions progress at Qatar 2022

WHAT HAPPENED? The Manchester City defender has faced the Paris Saint-Germain superstar before, but was not tasked with containing the obvious threat a jet-heeled forward poses when taking in Champions League minutes. He will come into direct contact with Mbappe on Saturday, as Gareth Southgate prepares to name him as England’s right-back in a crunch clash on Qatari soil, and a new name could be added to the top of a notable list.

WHAT THEY SAID: Quizzed on who tops that chart at present, Walker said: “For me…technically I didn’t play against Mbappe. One versus one it was more Neymar. I think Neymar is a fantastic player. I would probably say Sadio Mane. Just because he never gives you a moment’s rest on the ball. I’m not saying that the other guys that I mentioned don’t but you know, they probably don’t defend as much as Mane does and they save their energy when they’re attacking. So for me it’d probably be Mane.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Pressed further on how he intends to tackle the challenge of keeping Mbappe quiet, Walker added: “You have to use a little bit of nous. You can’t be a speed boat with no driver. You need to obviously use your brain when needed. And I can’t get as tight to him as I probably would do on some other players. That’s just the nature of the game. I remember playing against Theo Walcott once and I’ve tried to get so close to him and all of a sudden he just spins in behind you and you think well that’s your lesson taught.”

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT? Walker will be looking to make the most of his vast experience when facing France, with the 32-year-old a four-time Premier League title winner with 72 international caps to his name.