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World Cup

Mbappe? No, Mane was most difficult opponent, Neymar was fantastic - England's Walker

3:05 AM EST 12/8/22
Sadio Mane Bayern Munich 2022-23
England star Kyle Walker insists Sadio Mane is the toughest opponent he has played against and not Neymar.
  • Walker might line up against Mbappe on Saturday
  • England star explains why Mane beats Neymar
  • Mane missed World Cup through an injury

WHAT HAPPENED: England will rub shoulders with the World Cup defending champions France on Saturday in the last eight.

The Three Lions advanced after a convincing 3-0 win over Africa Cup of Nations defending champions Senegal while the Blues defeated Poland 3-1.

Walker, who has been doing well for England, is expected to start the game and will most probably be defending against Kylian Mbappe who has so far scored five goals and assisted two.

The full-back has initially played against the French attacker and his teammate Neymar when Manchester City played PSG in the Champions League.

However, Walker has lauded Senegal attacker Sadio Mane as the most difficult forward he has ever faced. The Lion of Teranga spent six years at Liverpool before leaving for Bayern Munich at the beginning of the season.

WHAT HE SAID: "For me... Technically, I didn't play against Mbappe [when Man City played PSG]. One versus one it was more Neymar. I think Neymar is a fantastic player," Walker told the media, explaining why he wouldn't be able to compare Mbappe to Mane directly.

"I would probably say Sadio Mane [is the toughest I have played against]. Just because he never gives you a moment's rest on the ball. I am not saying that the other guys that I mentioned don't but, you know, they probably don't defend as much as, you know, Mane does and they use or save their energy when they are attacking. So for me, it'd probably be Mane."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Mane missed the World Cup after sustaining a knee injury while on club duty for Bayern Munich. His national team Senegal went on to advance to the Round of 16 after finishing behind the Netherlands in Group A which also had hosts Qatar and Ecuador.

The Afcon champions were, however, eliminated by the Three Lions who have been impressive.

WHAT NEXT: Mane will be hoping to be fit enough to help Senegal push for a spot in the 2023 Afcon to be held in Ivory Coast.