Jamie Carragher believes England should be more concerned by a teammate of Kylian Mbappe rather than the man himself and named the trio of Three Lions who would get in the France team.
England take on France in the quarter-final on Saturday and much of the build-up has been focused on how they can cope with Mbappe, who’s scored or assisted seven of France’s nine goals at the World Cup so far.
But Carragher hopes England aren’t obsessing over Mbappe, with Antoine Griezmann the greater concern in his opinion.
He wrote in his Telegraph column: ‘Kyle Walker summed it up perfectly when dispatching the message England are playing France, not Mbappé. Mbappé is a superstar not superman. It is not as though he has won every big game he has been selected for since the last World Cup final. Top coaches and players have found ways to nullify him in the Champions League, not least Walker for Manchester City.
‘Didier Deschamps will love the idea of England obsessing over Mbappé because France are not as over reliant on him as suggested. He is a massive influence, not the sum of their parts. Mbappé can have a quiet game on Saturday and still be part of a comfortable victory if England do not deal with other threats. Look at Antoine Griezmann, for example. He has created 15 chances so far in Qatar.
‘I am more concerned about England’s approach to dealing with him than Mbappé. The gameplan for Mbappé is obvious, regardless of whether it works. If you could pick any right back in the world to face Mbappé it would be Walker due to his raw pace.
‘Halting the supply line from Griezmann is more complicated as he will try to operate in the space between Declan Rice and the centre-backs. Southgate will have been wrestling with the idea of a switch of a back five, Walker as the right centre-back so that he and Kieran Trippier can double up on Mbappé. Hopefully Southgate resists that temptation. It is unnecessary. Whether Walker is right centre-back or right-back, his duel with Mbappé is still going to be based on their sprint races. England will lose too much up the park if they sacrifice an attacker for a defender.’
Carragher reckons just three England players would get into Deshamps’ France team and urged the Three Lions to be bold in their approach.
‘It is essential for England to stay bold and deal with the occasion by imposing their qualities because – player for player – they are disadvantaged when it comes to the experience of delivering the killer touch in games of this magnitude.
‘We cannot ignore that France has more high-class footballers accustomed to winning the biggest prizes in club and international football.
‘When tasked with selecting a combined England/France XI, you realise how well blessed Deschamps is, even with so many injuries. For me, only Walker, Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane would make the France starting line-up.’
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