Ghana's No. 1

Walker 'will not roll out red carpet' for Mbappe

Published on: 07 December 2022

The game isn't England v Mbappe - Walker on World Cup quarter-final against FranceFifa World CupHost nation: Qatar Dates: 20 November-18 December Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app. Day-by-day TV listings - Full coverage details

Kyle Walker says he will "not roll out a red carpet" for Kylian Mbappe but England will have more concerns than just one player in their World Cup quarter-final against holders France.

England face France in the last eight in Qatar on Saturday (19:00 GMT) in the first knockout match between the two nations at a major tournament.

Mbappe, 23, is the tournament's leading scorer with five goals in four games.

"I understand what I need to do and that is to stop him," Walker, 32, said.

"It's easier said than done but I don't underestimate myself," the England right-back added.

"He is a fantastic player in great form. It is not going to be an easy task, but as a professional footballer you want to play against the best and I think he is one of the best, if not the best, in the world at the moment."

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Walker is familiar with Mbappe, having come up against the Paris St-Germain forward with Manchester City in the previous two Champions League campaigns.

City won two and lost one of the three meetings in which both players featured - and Mbappe has admitted he found facing Walker challenging.

On the Frenchman's comments, Walker said: "That's nice to hear because he had a tough game against me. I know he's a top player but we're not playing tennis. It's not a solo sport, it's a team game.

"You have to give him respect but not too much. Yes it will be a tough game but a team cannot just be about one person," he added.

"I'm not going to roll out a red carpet for him and tell him to score. It's a World Cup, it's do or die."

Kyle Walker (left) has faced Kylian Mbappe (right) on three occasions in games between Manchester City and PSG

The Three Lions defeated Senegal 3-0 in their last-16 match, while France also progressed smoothly with a 3-1 win over Poland.

Mbappe scored twice in that French victory and the forward has now been involved in his team's last seven World Cup goals.

"When we've played Paris St-Germain in the Champions League, we're not just thinking of Mbappe and it's the same on Saturday," Walker said.

"Yes he's a tool in their armoury - and a very good one - but you can't underestimate their other players."

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England have kept three successive clean sheets - one shy of their national record at a World Cup achieved in both 1966 and 1982.

At the other end of the pitch, the Three Lions have scored 12 goals in four games - equalling their highest tally at a single World Cup.

Having reached the last four in Russia in 2018, and the European Championship final in 2021, Walker believes there is no favourite as Gareth Southgate's side prepare to face the defending champions.

"We're playing the world champions but we are two good teams that will go toe-to-toe," Walker said.

"We have great talent. In my eyes, neither team is the underdogs or the favourites."

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