Former Man City star Pablo Zabaleta reveals how Walker can stop Mbappe in England-France World Cup clash

PABLO ZABALETA was one of the best right-backs in world football, winning five major trophies with Manchester City and playing for Argentina when they lost the 2014 World Cup final to Germany.

SunSport’s Rob Maul spoke to the retired Zabaleta – who is in Qatar for the BBC – about how England can stop flying Frenchman Kylian Mbappe.

Mbappe is France's dangerous man

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Mbappe is France’s dangerous manCredit: PA
Walker will play a key role in England's efforts to stop Mbappe

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Walker will play a key role in England’s efforts to stop MbappeCredit: Richard Pelham / The Sun
Zabaleta has also highlighted England's midfield as one of the key components in reducing the bid for the Frenchman

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Zabaleta has also highlighted England’s midfield as one of the key components in reducing the bid for the FrenchmanPhoto credit: Getty Images – Getty

ENGLAND shouldn’t be afraid of France but the biggest threat is of course Kylian Mbappe.

He has scored five goals so far in this tournament and it will be a tough challenge for England’s Kyle Walker.

I played him against Monaco in the second half of Manchester City’s 5-3 first-leg win in the Champions League round of 16 in 2017.

That was just over a year before he joined PSG – and despite being young you could tell he was special.

And his pace, wow, he’s so, so fast.

When he runs at you and plays those double wins it can be so difficult to defend against Mbappe, 23. The worst thing is giving him space and time.

Aston Villa’s Matty Cash was superb for Poland in last Saturday’s round of 16 and Mbappe still scored twice in a 3-1 win.

But Walker is one of the fastest players in world football – Mbappe won’t easily beat him in a race.

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I would advise Walker to take it seriously. Wait for him to get the ball and then quickly press it. Be very aggressive.

Slow him down if you can. Force him to play backwards all the time.

He shouldn’t worry about which place is behind him. His pace gives him a chance to recover.

Should England double up against Mbappe? Well, Walker will need help from England midfield.

Whether it’s Henderson, Bellingham or Rice, they need to be aware of the dangers and provide cover.

Those three also need to put pressure on the likes of Adrien Rabiot, Antoine Griezmann and Aurelien Tchouameni – they need to be as aggressive as possible – and make sure they can’t play those easy balls to Mbappe’s feet.

The BBC has their first pick for the World Cup semifinals next week. World Cup coverage will also continue on BBC iPlayer, BBC Sounds and BBC Sport Online.

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6885205/pablo-zabaleta-england-walker-stop-mbappe-france-world-cup/ Former Man City star Pablo Zabaleta reveals how Walker can stop Mbappe in England-France World Cup clash

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