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Walker is perfect man to stop Mbappe in World Cup clash, says Redknapp

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IF I had to pick one defender in the world to handle Kylian Mbappe, I could not think of a better right-back than Kyle Walker.

And he might just turn out to be the one who holds the key to England reaching their second World Cup semi-final in a row.

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It doesn’t take a genius to realise that Mbappe is the biggest danger to our chances when we play France on Saturday.

You need someone special to deal with a player like that — and Kyle is the perfect man for the job.

I know exactly how good he is because I was his manager for three years at Tottenham. He’s an even better player now.

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He’s quick, strong and as tough a man to beat one-on-one as anyone. In short, the ideal man to cope with Mbappe’s speed and power.

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But Walker might just be England’s secret attacking weapon down the right wing as well — if he chooses the right moments to bomb forward.

Mbappe is obviously a massive threat, we all know that, but he’s not a modern wide player who you’ll see charging back to help his defence.

When he loses possession he tends to walk around, hang about the halfway line waiting for France to win it back and get it up to him again.

As a right-back, that leaves you with a decision to make — can I trust my winger if I do go or am I risking getting caught out of position if he gives it away?

Walker's touch map against Senegal

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Well in Walker’s case, when the moment is right he definitely CAN trust Bukayo Saka, because he’s such a clever player.

If you’ve got a scatterbrain up there, you worry about going on the overlap because if they lose possession, you’re going to get punished by someone as good as Mbappe.

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But Saka’s a good player, he knows how to protect the ball and find Kyle at just the right time — and that’s how we can open France up down the right-hand side.

So while the big danger lies down Mbappe’s flank, it’s an area where we can hurt France as much as they can hurt us.

Kyle just has to choose the right time to go, probably only a couple of times in each half, but we will get chances from it — and they could be the difference.

That’s when it will be vital Jordan Henderson is aware and realise that if Walker’s gone, he must be prepared to drop in and cover.

I see it very much as a 50-50 game but I tell you one thing — I genuinely wouldn’t swap our squad for theirs.

And while everyone in England seems to be worrying about Mbappe, they’ll be doing the same about Harry Kane. I’m sure France defender Rafael Varane is.

Harry’s had a bit of criticism from some but against Senegal he was absolutely fantastic, linking play and bringing people into it.

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Getting his first goal will give him a big boost — not that he’s ever short of confidence — and he’ll be bang up for this.

Kane looks right on top of his game again and we’ve seen what he can do at a World Cup when that’s the case.

Saka and Phil Foden will always be threats whoever they’re up against, while I look at the strength on the bench and just think, ‘Wow’.

Marcus Rashford, Jack Grealish, Mason Mount . . . the talent we’ve got to bring on is better than anyone’s.

And then of course there is Jude Bellingham, who is already a phenomenal player and having such a great tournament.

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To me it’s a really good squad, so why shouldn’t we go all the way this time?

First things first, though, let’s beat France — then we really can start to dream.

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Source: The Sun

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