Matty Cash has given Kyle Walker and his England teammates an insight into facing an in form Kylian Mbappe.
The striker scored twice to help France beat Poland in their last 16 clash, which saw Cash given the job of marking him.
Mbappe is the World Cup’s top scorer with five goals and has arguably been the tournament’s best player, with England’s defence next in line to face him having beaten Senegal in their last-16 game.
“I spent the afternoon watching his clips and I knew it was going to be a tough test, but when he gets the ball, stops and moves, he’s the quickest thing I’ve ever seen,” the Aston Villa defender told The Guardian.
“I said to him at the end: ‘Can I have your shirt?’ and he gave me his match-worn shirt so I’m delighted with that.
“I’m watching the videos while lying in bed. In real life he’s burning my legs – that’s the difference. It’s a massive difference. When he stands you up and moves he does it really well. He drops the shoulder, goes short then long. I got into a couple of races with him and I did all right. You look over your shoulder and he’s there.”
Mbappe has recorded speeds of up to 35 km/h in Qatar, something that will have to be dealt with by Walker.
However, the Manchester City right-back will be confident, having faced the Paris Saint-Germain ace four times in the Champions League, winning three and losing just once.
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And Cash knows England will be able to deal with France’s biggest threat.
“They’ve got Kyle Walker who can play right-back and he’s probably just as quick as Mbappe. He knows Mbappe is amazing but Kyle is England’s best right-back. So if anyone’s going to stop Mbappe, Kyle is the man to stop him.
“I said before that [Raheem] Sterling was my toughest opponent – when we faced Manchester City, he was brilliant. Sterling’s rapid, but Mbappe is electric.”
Cash also spoke about how Mbappe hit Poland on the counter and that is the biggest threat England will face. “I didn’t know whether to drop off or go tight and when I went tight he just spun in behind. I did everything I could,” he added.
“When it was one vs one I thought I’d done okay against him, he didn’t really run me once. There were times where he got space on the counterattack, which is where he scored the second goal, and that’s where he hurts teams.”
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