'We'll have to work collectively to stop Mbappe' – Southgate outlines England's plan to deal with France star

By Sports Desk December 09, 2022 404

Gareth Southgate believes it will take a collective effort from England to stop Kylian Mbappe in Saturday's mouthwatering World Cup quarter-final against France.

Mbappe is the tournament's top scorer with five goals in four matches, including a double in the reigning champions' 3-1 victory over Poland in the round of 16.

Kyle Walker is the player many believe will be chosen to deal with the power and pace of Mbappe, with the possibility that Southgate will opt to play with a back five.

The Three Lions boss does not think it will all be on Walker to stop the Paris Saint-Germain star, stating that every player will have to chip in.

"He’s [Walker] been a very important player for us over the last six years," Southgate said.

"Kyle is ready. We, of course, are talking about one of the opposition, but we play France who are a fantastic team.

"We're aware of the quality of the whole squad. He's [Didier Deschamps] created a team that is stronger than the individuals. That's great credit to him, we know we've got to be at our very best to win the game."

Asked how England will prepare for Mbappe, Southgate said: "Same as every position on the field, you have 10 one-v-one battles, but then everybody else round those battles has to support their team-mate.

"You've got to work collectively to stop any player like that. You’ve got to work the areas of the pitch zonally to make sure there's good coverage and support for every player on the pitch, simple as that."

France are unbeaten in the 13 games in which Mbappe has started in the World Cup and European Championship combined (W10 D3), winning all nine in which he has played from the beginning at the World Cup.

The 23-year-old has been directly involved in 12 goals in those 13 starts, scoring nine and making three assists.

England captain Harry Kane, though, believes Walker is in the form of his life and is more than capable of dealing with Mbappe.

"Kyle is a fantastic defender," Kane said. "He's been probably the most consistent right back there's been for the last 10 years or so.

"He's playing at the highest level I think he's ever played at. I know everyone's talking about Kyle and Kylian, but Kyle will be focused on doing his job for the team as he always does. He's one of the best defenders."

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Last modified on Friday, 09 December 2022 12:56
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