Kalvin Phillips has claimed Kyle Walker is the fastest player he knows in the game as the England defender prepares to go head-to-head with France superstar .
Walker remains the team’s speediest player at 32 but Mbappe, nine years his junior, is quicker and the contest should be a fascinating one when ’s men take on France tomorrow. England midfielder Phillips (pictured) said of his team-mate: ‘He’s the quickest player I’ve played against in football.
‘A lot of people obviously ask how quick is he and honestly you can’t explain it until you’ve seen it up against another quick player. I think we’ll see that in a couple of days.’
Phillips also praised another colleague, John Stones, ahead of the last-eight tie. ‘For me, he’s one of the best centre-halves in the world,’ he added. ‘I’m not just saying that because he’s my friend or plays for City.
‘He’s one of the best centre-halves when we’re attacking as well. He is so composed and confident on the ball.
‘His partnership with Harry Maguire – they understand and feed off each other. It’s probably the best centre-half partnership in the tournament.’
Key battle: Walker vs Mbappe
Talk of this game has focused on one French player this week – sorry, not you, Olivier Giroud. Nor Antoine Griezmann or Ousmane Dembele.
It’s Kylian Mbappe who apparently stands between England and a World Cup semi-final and Kyle Walker is the man likely charged with stopping him.
Mbappe, who returned to training yesterday after an injury scare, leads the race for the Golden Boot in Qatar but has just one goal in three games against Walker’s Manchester City.
The pace of Walker, at 32 still the fastest player in the squad, is a massive weapon in England’s armoury, whether or not Gareth Southgate opts to stick with a back four, or go with a five with Walker alongside John Stones and Harry Maguire in central defence.
Mbappe, nine years the defender’s junior, has terrified teams with his turn of speed at the World Cup and does not need a second invitation to get the ball out of his feet and shoot.
So Walker will have to be at his very best, just two months after surgery on his groin – in fact it was thought he may not make Doha at all at one stage. What a turnaround in fortunes it would be if he could become the man who finally shackles Mbappe.
In a lead of his own
Mbappe is the top goalscorer in this season’s Champions League (seven goals) and France’s Ligue 1 (12) as well as the World Cup (five).
4 – Major tournaments Walker has featured in for England, having previously played at Euro 2016, the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020
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