Maddison backs Walker to deal with Mbappe but warns England of other threats from France

James Maddison has backed Kyle Walker to ‘do some work’ on Kylian Mbappe in the World Cup quarter-final but conceded England will face several threats from France on Saturday.

In-form Mbappe scored twice in the 3-1 round of 16 win over Poland, just hours before England edged past Senegal 3-0 to reach the last eight of their third successive major tournament .

A pair of excellent right-footed strikes took France to five for the tournament in Qatar, giving them the lead in the Golden Boot race as the Blues seek to regain their world crown.

Former England defender Gary Neville called Walker “the best right-back in the world” to face the Paris Saint-Germain star at Al Bayt Stadium and Maddison echoed the pundit’s sentiment.

“He’s obviously a fantastic player, one of the best in the world,” the Leicester City midfielder told talkSPORT. “I’m sure we’ll prepare well to try to stop him.

“Kyle Walker started at right-back in the game against Senegal and he’s one of the best full-backs in the world. I think if anyone can do a job, it’s him.

“But France have a lot of threats. It’s not just Kylian Mbappe. They’re a brilliant team and that’s why they are defending champions.

“There are a lot of things that we have to be wary of, but the tactical work that we’re doing, and the staff here, the work that’s going on in the background that people don’t see, will leave us in good stead and I hope we we can progress.”

Kylian Mbappe has nine World Cup goals

While Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford, Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham shone for Gareth Southgate in Qatar, Maddison is yet to feature for England.

The 26-year-old, who has just one cap to his name, missed the opening two games with a knee injury before Southgate opted for other options against Wales and Senegal.

Maddison will hope he will soon have the chance to impress as England target back-to-back World Cup semi-finals, but remains delighted to have played in a major tournament with his country.

“Involvement isn’t always necessarily minutes on the pitch and I think that’s probably something I’ve learned over the last few weeks of being here,” he added.

“Of course every player wants to play and I’m no different. I’m desperate to come out and show what I can do. But this is one of them – my first major tournament at senior level and it’s is great to be a part of.

“It’s such a learning curve and you gain so much experience without even realizing, just day to day, how it works, what it takes to be successful – and we’ve been successful so far. ‘now.

“I feel good, the injury is gone. I feel 100%. I’ve been training for a while now, I’ve been available for the last two games.

“It’s just about staying patient, staying ready, which I am. Working hard and trying to be an option for the manager if needed.”

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