Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville have named an England defender as the only player capable of stopping incredible France star Kylian Mbappe.
The former Manchester United and England pair both believe Manchester City’s Kyle Walker is the ‘perfect’ player to nullify Mbappe’s pace and power ahead of a potential quarter-final clash against France.
Mbappe helped Didier Deschamps’ men win the World Cup in Russia four years ago. And he was outstanding in the opening two group games in Qatar, scoring three goals as France topped their group.
The French will play the runner-up from Group C, which is currently Argentina, although that could change as Lionel Messi’s side face Poland on Wednesday.
England secured top spot in Group B with a comfortable 3-0 win over Wales on Tuesday night. They will now face African champions Senegal in the last-16 on Sunday.
And with a quarter-final with France potentially on the horizon, Walker has been tipped to do a number on Mbappe.
Walker v Mbappe a real foot race
Speaking to Sky Sports, when asked how Gareth Southgate could set the Three Lions up for the rest of the tournament, Neville said: “I always thought we’d play three at the back in this tournament. But I don’t think we will now.
“I didn’t think the centre-back pairing would be strong enough, but John Stones and Harry Maguire are holding up.
“It’s whether what they’ve played against so far in the first three games is going to be anything like what they face moving forward. And I don’t think it is.
“It looks like a collision course waiting to happen doesn’t it? Mbappe versus Walker. We’ve got the perfect right-back to deal with Mbappe if anyone can – physical, pace, experience.”
Ferdinand also addressed the possibility of England and France facing off on his YouTube channel. He added: “For me, Kyle Walker is the only defender on the planet right now that will stand there and go to Mbappe: “Right, 1-v-1, let’s have a race.
“He will back himself too. We saw it in the Euros. He’s got the confidence to do that and he’s the only one capable of doing that I think.”
Maguire stepping up for England
Neville, meanwhile, has also praised Manchester United captain Harry Maguire for shrugging off his struggling club form to excel with England in Qatar.
“I think he feels loved more by England maybe, I think he feels more at home,” Neville said of Maguire.
“During my career, I can’t think of one player who played better for their country than their club. Harry Maguire does. A number of players feel like that, Raheem Sterling in the first game against Iran.
“I thought Harry would be left of a back three, if he played at all. For him to play the games as he has is a massive success.
“He’s a really good player, he’s just had an awful time at United. That’s a very unforgiving place, and if you don’t get it right it can eat you alive.
“I think he’ll come through it at United, just look at Marcus [Rashford]. He’s been through a tough spell, but he’s come out the other side.
“There are great players who I played with at United who went through the same experience, where it was tough for them for a period and they were better for it.”
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