DREI Lions speed dealer Kyle Walker yesterday vowed to give French flyer Kylian Mbappe a decent run for his money in Saturday’s World Cup showdown
The England full-back, 32, said: “I’m not going to roll out the red carpet for him and tell him to go and score. It’s about life.”
The 23-year-old French ace has himself said of brave fighter Kyle: “He’s one of those rare players that makes me suffer.”
Manchester City star Kyle can put the brakes on the Paris Saint-Germain superstar, who has already scored five goals in Qatar.
With a top sprint speed of 23.48 mph, Walker is practically matching the pace with Mbappe (23.50 mph).
The pair’s duel has become the focus of what could be an epic quarter-final match at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.
Kyle stressed yesterday: “This game is not England vs. Mbappe. The game is England vs France.
“If we lose, we go home. He won’t stand in my way of winning a World Cup for my country.” He added: “Do I understand the focus on Mbappe? Of course I do.
“I understand what I need to do and that’s obvious to stop him.
“It’s probably easier said than done, but I don’t underestimate myself. I’ve played against him before and met great players in England, Manchester City and other clubs.
“I have to give him the respect he deserves but not too much because he’s playing against England and we can give them problems too.”
The rivals, who are both 1.60m tall, have met four times in the past while playing for their clubs in the Champions League and in a friendly. The results are tied with two wins each.
Mbappe has only scored once against Kyle – and that was in a 2-1 loss in November. Statistics show Walker has only dribbled past three times in his last 24 games in England.
Wily Kyle – who has 74 caps – also opened up about how his superior experience could be key to thwarting Mbappe.
He said: “You have to use a little bit of nous – you can’t be a speedboat without a driver.
“You obviously have to use your brain when you need to and I can’t get as close to him as I probably would with some other players.
“France vs England has always been a great game and a great fight. . . . and you’ll get another one on Saturday.”
Kyle refused to accept that the Three Lions will be the underdogs against the world champion.
He said: “Don’t see any absolute favorites or underdogs. I see two very good teams going head-to-head.”
Mbappe missed training on Monday and was spotted in an injury recovery room. But France said he rejoined the squad yesterday and is likely to play.
Before England beat Senegal 3-0 in their last game, Match of the Day host and ex-Three Lions ace Gary Lineker suggested Walker rest to save him for the fight against Mbappe.
He said Kyle is “just about the only full-back on the planet who can match Kylian Mbappe – and that’s the French team”.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/soccer/6866201/kyle-walker-kylian-mbappe-world-cup/ Three Lions’ Kyle Walker vows to give French superstar Kylian Mbappe a race for his money in World Cup showdown