‘Lesson taught’ – Walker believes experiences against Walcott will help him deal with Mbappe

Date published: Thursday 8th December 2022 1:28 - Jason Soutar

Kyle Walker defends against Theo Walcott

Kyle Walker reckons his experience playing against Theo Walcott will help him when England take on Kylian Mbappe and France on Saturday.

The Three Lions set up a World Cup quarter-final clash against Les Bleus after their convincing 3-0 win against Senegal.

There has been a lot of build-up to the match, with many excited to see how Walker deals with Mbappe.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward has been brilliant in Qatar and scored two superb goals in his side’s 3-1 last-16 win against Poland.

Mbappe is in a strong position to win the Golden Boot after netting five goals in four appearances. There are nine players joint-second with three goals.

Ahead of the match, Walker recalled a game against Walcott and thinks the “lesson” the former Arsenal winger taught him will set him in good stead when coming up against Mbappe.

“You have to use a little bit of nous,” Walker said. “You need to use your brain when needed.

“I can’t get as tight to him as I would with other players – that’s just the nature of the game.

“I remember playing against Theo Walcott once and I was getting so close to him and then all of a sudden he gets behind you and that’s your lesson taught,” he added.

“You need to make sure the mistakes you make are not costly mistakes.

“Whoever plays at right-back he’s going to get the better of you one, two, three occasions a game, he’s a great player.

“You need to make those occasions as few as possible and not costly.”

Walker also said: “The game isn’t England v Mbappe, it’s England vs France.

“We will give respect but I’m not going to roll out a red carpet for him to score. It’s do or die as if we lose we go home.”

It promises to be a terrific match between two European heavyweights.

France are without several important players, while the Three Lions are at full strength, barring Reece James, though Gareth Southgate has plenty of excellent options at right-back.

N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba were not named in Didier Deschamps’ 26-man squad for the tournament due to injury.

Christopher Nkunku and Karim Benzema picked up injuries in training before the tournament kicked off, while Lucas Hernandez suffered a horrible ACL injury in France’s opening fixture against Australia.

L’Equipe actually reported that Hernandez has been contemplating retirement after picking up the long-term knee injury.

This was said two weeks ago and he has not hung up his boots as things stand.

The report states that his mother talked him out of it and his mood has significantly improved since then.

READ MORE: Mbappe v Walker: Rio, Neville and past meetings offer insight into key England v France battle

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