Poland defender Matty Cash has warned England that Kylian Mbappe is the quickest player he’s ever faced and his legs were burning trying to keep up with the France forward.
Mbappe is currently the top scorer at the World Cup and he was in fine form on Sunday, scoring twice and assisting another as France beat Poland 3-1 to set up a quarter-final clash against England.
Aston Villa right-back Cash was tasked with keeping Mbappe quiet and he prepped for the challenge by watching video clips of the French forward.
That, however, could not prepare Cash for the real thing and he has admitted the 23-year-old was the toughest opponent he’s ever faced.
“I spent the afternoon watching his clips and I knew it was going to be a tough test, but when he gets the ball, stops and moves, he’s the quickest thing I’ve ever seen,” said Cash.
“I’m watching the videos while lying in bed! In real life he’s burning my legs, that’s the difference. I got into a couple of races with him, and I did alright. You look over your shoulder and he’s there.
“He’s obviously unbelievable and probably my toughest opponent by far. He’s probably in the top two, three players in the world at the minute.
“I didn’t know whether to drop off or go tight, and when I went tight he just spun in behind. I did everything I could, when it was one-on-one I thought I’d done OK against him, he didn’t really run me once.
“There were times where he got space on the counter-attack which is where he scored the second goal, and that’s where he hurts teams, but everyone saw tonight and in two, three, four years what he can do to teams, and he does that week-in, week-out.”
Cash knows plenty of the England squad given it is the country of his birth and he has played his whole career there.
The right-back knows they face a tough ask stopping Mbappe, but he believes Kyle Walker could catch the Frenchman in a foot race.
“They don’t need any tips,” said Cash. “I speak to [Jack] Grealish and [Declan] Rice a fair bit, because we play against each other every week, you always say hello.
“They’ve got Kyle Walker who can play right-back and he’s just as quick as Mbappe! (Mbappe) is the quickest, [Raheem] Sterling’s up there as well. I said before tonight that Sterling was my toughest opponent when we faced Manchester City, he was brilliant.”
Photo Credit: Getty