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Walker won't 'roll out red carpet' for Mbappe in England's 'do or die' World Cup quarter-final clash with France

16:51 SAST 2022/12/07
Kyle Walker England 2022
England's Kyle Walker has insisted he won't ''roll out the red carpet'' for France star Kylian Mbappe in their quarter-final clash on Saturday.
  • Walker-Mbappe could be key on-field battle
  • City man labelled starlet "one of best in world"
  • But underlined he wouldn't "roll out red carpet"

WHAT HAPPENED? The Manchester City defender and Paris Saint-Germain frontman are no strangers to coming up against each other, and Walker was quick to give credit to a player he considers to be "one of the best" in world football. However, the right-back went on to say that he would not give Mbappe a free ride in the game, and re-iterated his understanding of the task at hand.

WHAT THEY SAID: "[He's a] fantastic player in great form... one of the best, if not the best in the world at the minute," Walker said in a press conference. "I understand what I need to do and that's to stop him. Probably easier said than done but I don't underestimate myself... I'm not going to roll out the red carpet for him and tell him to score".
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Saturday's matchup, which Walker later described as "do or die", could well be the defining moment in Gareth Southgate's England career. As holders, France are likely to pose the toughest test of his managerial reign to date, even more so than Germany and Italy in Euro 2020. While some have pointed towards the tussle out wide between Walker and Mbappe as key, left-back Luke Shaw underlined that the Three Lions would be naive to focus solely on that aspect, as his side chase a third successive major tournament semi-final.

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WHAT NEXT FOR WALKER? Southgate is likely to rely once again on the man who was so vital to England's Euro 2020 run, although it is uncertain whether this will be as part of a back three or as a continuation of a back four that is yet to concede a goal since the opening round of World Cup group matches.