Kyle Walker has said he won’t “roll out the red carpet” for Kylian Mbappe during England’s clash with France.
The Three Lions defender looks set to be faced with containing the Paris Saint-Germain superstar during Saturday’s quarter-final.
Mbappe has scored five goals and leads the race for the golden boot in Qatar with many speculating how England will try to hold him off.
Walker, a Manchester City right-back, has said he is ready for the challenge and told a press conference: “We respect that he is a good player in good form, but I am not going to roll out a red carpet for him and tell him to go and score.
“I’m representing my country at the quarter-final of a World Cup, it’s do or die really. If we lose, we go home. He’s not going to stand in my way of hopefully winning a World Cup for my country.”
“I do understand what I need to do and that is to stop him,” he added.
“It’s probably easier said than done, but I don’t underestimate myself. I have played against a lot of great players at Man City and England.
“I have to treat it as another game, I have to take extra care and give him the respect he deserves, but not too much respect because he’s also playing England and we can cause them problems.”
Walker has come up against Mbappe four times in the Champions League and has earned plaudits for how he has previously dealt with the French forward.
“Obviously it is always going to help because I’ve played against him a number of times now with Manchester City,” added Walker.
“He is a fantastic player in great form. It is not going to be an easy task, but as a professional footballer you want to play against the best and I think he is one of the best if not the best in the world at the moment.”
Image: Declan Rice missed training through illness on Wednesday Further up the pitch, concern has been raised regarding England’s midfield after Declan Rice missed training through illness.
The West Ham midfielder wasn’t present for training with the rest of squad on Wednesday, just three days ahead of the clash with France.
Other players who missed training include striker Callum Wilson, who has yet to return to training after picking up a muscle problem following the last-16 win over Senegal, Raheem Sterling, who returned to the UK after intruders broke into his home, and Ben White, who left Qatar for personal reasons last week.