‘It won’t just be about Mbappe’ - Man City star Kyle Walker gives France verdict ahead of World Cup clash

Manchester City star Kyle Walker has given his thoughts on facing Kylian Mbappe and France in England’s World Cup quarter-final on Saturday.

Manchester City and England defender Kyle Walker says the game against France is the ultimate chance to quell doubts and stamp their authority as true contenders to win the World Cup.

The Three Lions face their biggest challenge yet since that defeat to Italy at the Euros final at Wembley and it will take both confidence and momentum to get past the world champions on Saturday.

Les Blues are favourites, but England will remain upbeat having thrashed Iran, drawn the USA and sent Wales home with relative ease. Under Gareth Southgate, this team has looked a different beast to previous international tournaments, and making the last four is now the minimum when England go to these competitions.

Young players like Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden have become established internationals already and they have been aided by the experience of players like Harry Kane, Walker and Raheem Sterling, who returned home after his family home in London was burgled.

Walker, who is expected to use his pace, experience and nuance to stop Kylian Mbappe, says the game against Didier Deschamps’ team is what everyone his looking forward to in the group. He told NationalWorld’s Rahman Osman in Al Wakrah: “I think that is a great opportunity for us to put a stand down and to say that we are a good team and we can achieve great things.

“I think that it will ultimately give us the belief that we can go on and win this. I’m not saying that we don’t believe, but to beat a team like France the reigning in the quarter-finals of the World Cup, you’ve got to take confidence from that - not arrogance, but confidence.

“As for defending or being a little negative in previous tournaments, I feel that the manager makes the right call to play a four or five. No one was complaining about negative football when we reached the European final. When got to the final, it’s not what everyone wanted to see (the cautious perofmrnace), but I think it’s a little harsh to judge him on that.

“I think we’ve moved forward in this tournament and playing with a four and playing attacking football, and our last game we won - let’s move on with that.”

Walker is one of the experienced members of the team and has been one of the tools deployed at club and international level when they meet fast players, but the defender says the game against France will showcase a lot of top players including Olivier Giroud, who is now his country’s all time top scorer.

“Mbappe is a top player and one of the best in the world but they have other big players like Giroud, (Ousmane) Dembele and (Antoine) Griezmann who are all equally good, so it won’t just be about just Mbappe.”