Former Sheffield United star fires warning to Kylian Mbappe ahead of 'do or die' England v France quarter-final

Former Sheffield United defender Kyle Walker insists England will not be rolling out the red carpet for France's great entertainers in Saturday's World Cup quarter-final clash.
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Most of the talk since the tie was confirmed has surrounded Kylian Mbappe and how England can stop a man who leads the golden boot race with his five goals in Qatar, with the reigning world champions also boasting other attacking talent including their all-time leading goalscorer Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann.

But Walker, who came through the ranks at Bramall Lane before graduating to Premier League stardom with Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City, has reminded observers that England have quality too to hurt the French.

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"We take our hats off to them, they are world champions, they have the respect they deserve," Walker said. "They won the last World Cup. But I can assure you that each and every one of us will not be rolling out red carpet for them to go and perform, thinking it's a theatre for them to showcase their great talent.

"We have also got great talent that we need to be speaking about as well. The goals we have scored, the clean sheets we have kept. We just move forward with that.

"To play in a quarter-final of a World Cup is always going to be special. It's always going to be a bit more special when it's against France, the reigning world champions. It's going to be a very tough game which we know and one we are waiting on with excitement."

England's Man City defender Kyle Walker, formerly of Sheffield United, gives a press conference ahead of the World Cup quarter-final against France this weekend (PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)England's Man City defender Kyle Walker, formerly of Sheffield United, gives a press conference ahead of the World Cup quarter-final against France this weekend (PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
England's Man City defender Kyle Walker, formerly of Sheffield United, gives a press conference ahead of the World Cup quarter-final against France this weekend (PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Walker has faced the PSG superstar four times in the Champions League so far in his career and is expected to be tasked with keeping Mbappe quiet at Al Bayt Stadium on Saturday evening.

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"I do understand what I need to do and that is to stop him," he said. "It is easier said than done, but I don't underestimate myself, I have played against some great players at Man City and England, and I treat it as another game. I take extra care and give him the respect he deserves but not too much respect.

"He's a fantastic player, in great form. It's not going to be an easy task. As a professional footballer, you want to play against the best and he's one of the best, if not the best, in the world at the minute.

"Do I understand the focus? Of course I do. I do understand what I need to do and that's obviously to stop him. The game is not England v Mbappe. The game is England v France. We take respect that he's a good player and in good form at the minute but I'm not going to roll out the red carpet for him and tell him to go and score.

"I'm representing my country at a quarter-final of a World Cup. It's do or die really. If we lose, we go home. He's not going to stand in my way of hopefully winning a World Cup for my country."