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‘He burned my legs’ – Matty Cash warns England about ‘amazing’ Mbappe… but backs Kyle Walker to stop France superstar

ENGLAND’S only hope of stopping Le Rocket lies with a 32-year-old, war weary veteran with a dicky groin.

Kyle Walker is still moving up through the gears following surgery and a desperate race to be fit enough simply to travel to the World Cup.

Cash was taken to task by France main man Mbappe
Walker is England’s hope of stopping speedy Mbappe

The best test of his recovery will come on Saturday trying to shackle Kylian Mbappe when England take on France for a place in the semi-finals.

As the tournament gathers momentum France’s devastating forward seems to be getting faster and faster – sharper and sharper.

Two clinical goals and a spectacular show of pace against Poland on Sunday fired the defending champions into the last eight and raised questions whether anyone in Qatar can stop him.

Mbappe, 23, is the fastest player in France’s Ligue 1. He has clocked 22.4 mph – enough to get you a speeding ticket on many London roads these days.

The good news is that Walker has had the legs to outpace that but it was some time and a nasty injury ago.

Two years ago he recorded 23.4 mph – the kind of speed he will need to rediscover in the next five days for England to stand any chance of keeping up with the flying Parisien.

Aston Villa defender Matty Cash did his best marking Mbappe during Poland’s World Cup defeat to Les Blues on Sunday and walked away breathless after the game with his shirt as a mark of respect. It was the closest he had got to it all game.

But Cash reckons there is life in old dog Walker yet to grease the wheels and smother danger from the wannabe Usain Bolt on France’s left wing.

Mbappe scored two from five shots against Poland


Cash said: “To be fair, Kyle Walker’s got way more experience than me, I don’t need to tell him anything. He knows Mbappe is amazing but I think Kyle Walker is England’s best right-back. 

“So if anyone’s going to stop Mbappe, I think Kyle Walker is the man to stop him. I think Kyle Walker is brilliant and he’s rapid as well.

“I play in the Premier League week-in, week-out and I play against top-class wingers, but Kylian’s easily going to be the  best player in the world. Speed, movement, look at his finishing. 

“He’s got everything. He put two in the top corner – one in the left and one in the right. I speak to Jack Grealish and Declan Rice a fair bit, because we play against each other every week, you always say hello.

“England have got Kyle Walker who can play right back and he’s just as quick as Mbappe.

“Twice he had a run with me and I did well, I thought. I gave it my all, I did everything I could.

“Sometimes when you come up against world-class players like that, who get time and space, and we were chasing the game at 1-0, we committed a lot of bodies forward to score and then they scored again.

“It was amazing. 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. 

“I said to him at the end, ‘can I have your shirt?’ He gave me his match shirt so I’m delighted with that. 

“But for me to come away with that and obviously play against Messi and Mbappe in the last four or five days, for me personally it’s fantastic and I’ll take a lot from that.”

Mbappe on ‘different level’

Cash is no slouch and did his homework but there is only so much preparation anyone can do against a young man just three games away from winning a second World Cup – two days before his 24th birthday.

He joked: “I watched the videos while lying in bed – then 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 alright. You look over your shoulder and he’s there.

“For me personally it’s amazing, to have that experience and that learning curve.

“I’m obviously still a young kid, learning the game, and to be at a major tournament playing against the world’s best players is something you dream of, so it’s amazing.

“He is on a different level. It’s even hard stopping the ball getting to him because their game plan is to get the ball to the wingers and when it’s one v one you’ve got to try to stop him.

“He obviously does it really well because he scores and he’s probably in the top two, three players in the world at the minute.

“But I’m delighted, playing against Messi and Mbappe in the space of four days is a learning curve. It’s a boy’s dream to play in a major tournament against these types of players and to get their match shirt.”

Mbappe’s touch map against Poland

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