England’s fastest player at the World Cup taunts young rivals

England train ahead of France clash

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FIFA record the official top speeds of every player in every game in a 52-page statistical report produced for every match. And competitive stars in the England World Cup camp are always keen to discover which of them can claim to be the fastest in the squad.

In all, Gareth Southgate has used 20 of his 26-man squad, with some coming on fresh for brief cameos. However, the quickest sprint time recorded since the tournament began came in Sunday night’s win against Senegal.

It was right-back Kyle Walker who was clocked at 34.4 km/h, to beat the 34.2 km/h Marcus Rashford had previously set against Wales. When asked about his place at the top of the podium, Walker was less than magnanimous in victory.

“Just listen to FIFA!” he crowed. Ahead of the quarter-final against France on Saturday, Phil Foden is in the bronze medal position with 33.6 km/h with Bukayo Saka just behind him with 33.2 km/h.

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Then comes something of a surprise, with Harry Kane, not particularly renowned for his pace, having become the only other England player to clock 33 km/h, an achievement he managed against the USA.

By way of comparison, Walker’s 34.4 km/h equates to 9.55 m/s second – which if sustained over 100m would see the 32-year-old cross the line in a tidy 10.47 seconds. Sadly, though, he is still 0.9 km/h than France’s Kylian Mbappe – which means his likely head-to-head opponent at the Ali Bayt Stadium could be set to gain 25cm on the Manchester City star every second.

The lightning-quick French winger, with five goals already to his name already in the tournament, is the quickest man left in the tournament. But four players who have already headed home have so far kept in front of him in the speed stakes – including two players for the same Premier League club.

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Kamaldeen Sulemana has clocked the fastest time of all, bursting forth at 35.7 km/h in Ghana’s group game against Uruguay. However Fulham pair Antonee Robinson of the USA and Wales’ Dan James join Nico Williams of Spain as the other elite sprinters in the entire tournament.

England’s speed table

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