James Maddison has backed Kyle Walker to “do a job” on France star Kylian Mbappe in Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final.
The reward for Sunday’s comfortable 3-0 last-16 win against Senegal is a mouth-watering clash against the reigning champions back at Al Bayt Stadium.
Gareth Southgate’s men will have to keep Mbappe quiet if England are to have any chance of progressing to another semi-final.
The 23-year-old was young player of the tournament in Russia and has already scored five goals in Qatar, where Maddison believes rapid right-back Walker has the skillset to shackle the France forward.
“He’s obviously a fantastic player, one of the best in the world,” he told talkSPORT. “I’m sure we’ll prepare right to try and stop him.
“Kyle Walker started 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, listen, France have a lot of threats. It’s not just Kylian Mbappe. They’re a brilliant team and that’s why they are reigning champions.
“We’ve got a lot to be wary of but the tactical work that we do, and the staff here, the work that goes in on the background that people don’t see, will leave us in good stead hopefully, and hopefully we can progress.”
Maddison has yet to feature for England in Qatar, having had to overcome a knee complaint that ruled him out of the first two games after receiving his first call-up in three years.
But the 26-year-old is back fit and desperate to get the chance to win just his second cap.
“Involvement isn’t always necessarily minutes on the pitch and I think that is probably something I’ve learned in the last few weeks of being out here,” Maddison said.
“Of course every player wants to play and I’m no different. I’m desperate to get out there and show what I can do.
“But it’s one of them – my first major tournament at senior level and it’s brilliant to be a part of, you know?
“It’s such a learning curve and you gain so much experience without even realising, just on a day-to-day basis of how it works, what it takes to be successful – and we have been successful so far.
“What a brilliant performance last night, really convincing win against a good Senegal team in the knockouts.
“I’m feeling good, the injury’s gone. I’m feeling 100 per cent. I’ve been training for a while now, I’ve been available for the last couple of 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.”