‘I’m not afraid of marking Mbappe’ says assured Kyle Walker

England train ahead of France clash

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The defender insisted the Three Lions were not underdogs in the Qatar quarter-final – despite facing speedy goal ace Kylian Mbappe.

And Manchester City’s Walker, 32, insisted he does not fear marking the tournament’s top hitman who has five goals already.

Walker – considered one of the Premier League’s fastest players – said he has to combine pace with know-how as he sizes up his younger rival, adding: “You can’t be a speedboat without a driver.”

Many consider Mbappe, 23, to be the best footballer in the world. But Walker said he was not overawed, adding: “The game’s not England v Mbappe, the game’s England v France. I don’t see an outright favourite or an underdog.

“I see ourselves playing the World Champions, I see two very good teams that are going to go toe to toe. It’s do or die really. If we lose we go home.

“France and England has always been a great game, a great battle, and I think you are going to get another one come Saturday.”

Gareth Southgate’s men are in form after winning their qualifying group and demolishing African champions Senegal 3-0 in their first knockout match on Sunday.

And Walker said the team have improved since reaching the World Cup semi-final four years ago.

He added: “The main thing for us is to get this victory. We desperately want it as a nation. “We have worked hard in the last four years to achieve what we want to achieve.

We’ve also got great talent I feel we need to be speaking about – the goals we scored, the clean sheets we kept.”

And the Yorkshireman also joked that after weeks in the desert, he is keen for the rain forecast in Qatar. “I never thought I’d say it but I can’t wait to see rain – it’s been so long and living in Manchester you see rain every day.”

Meanwhile, England fans were advised to “keep pestering” officials to secure their Qatar visas amid concerns they could miss the game at Doha’s Al Bayt Stadium.

Supporters from most nations wanting to enter the Gulf state must have a Hayya identity card, which also allows entry into stadiums with a ticket. But they claim applications have been delayed.

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