MARTIN KEOWN: Kyle Walker's not yet up to full speed to face Mbappe

MARTIN KEOWN TALKS TACTICS: Kyle Walker is not yet up to full speed after returning from injury… he will need some help to stop Kylian Mbappe in England’s quarter-final with France

  • Kyle Walker will need help to stop Kylian Mbappe in Saturday’s quarter-final 
  • He did not seem up to full speed during England’s win over Senegal on Sunday 
  • Declan Rice could cover from defensive midfield to double up on Mbappe
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There isn’t really a player on the planet who can deal with Kylian Mbappe. He knocks it out of his right foot in his stride pattern and he’s away. He’s a flying machine.

England need to come up with a special plan to stop him because France’s superstar will exploit Kyle Walker if the right back is not up to speed.

Walker has started England’s last two games — back-to-back 3-0 wins over Wales and Senegal — after having groin surgery in October.

Kyle Walker did not look up to full speed during England’s convincing win over Senegal

Walker will need help if he is to tame French superstar Kylian Mbappe (L) on Saturday night

I didn’t think Walker looked nearly as quick on Sunday night as he has done in the past. Nor should he really when you think how long he has been out injured.

Walker has got to get back some of that pace. I saw him a couple times against Senegal trying to gallop down the wing, put the burners on, and it wasn’t there.

He’s going to have to work on that pace. Hopefully, day by day, he gets fitter and fitter.

Declan Rice could step out of defensive midfield to double up on Mbappe when flying forward

I don’t know if Walker is really quite on it yet so we’re going to have to do it collectively to try to stop Mbappe and that will be a feature of Gareth Southgate’s work defensively.

One solution could be to have Declan Rice step out of defensive midfield and help Walker by doubling up on the flying striker.

Maybe we have to starve balls to Mbappe. He does tend to sit out wide. We’ve got to make sure we lock the door on him.

England must starve balls to Mbappe in the quarter-final, but they have a stronger bench

One big positive for England is the depth and quality of the squad — our options are the envy of the world. I don’t think the French bench offers what ours offers: Jack Grealish, Marcus Rashford and many others.

It’s going to be an epic game.

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