Doha: As England gears up for the blockbuster clash against defending champions France in the quarter-finals, the Three Lions' assistant manager Steve Holland cautioned the national side against the dangerous exploits of France's Kylian Mbappe and to underscore his point, mentioned Messi as well, in his statement.
France forward Mbappe is the leading goal scorer with five goals in the ongoing FIFA World Cup, 2022. "I think there are a handful of players on the planet that you need to give special attention to. Messi has been one and probably still is. You'd have to put Mbappe in that kind of category I would suggest," Skysports quoted Holland as saying.
Holland suggested that the 23-year-old from France is a thorn in the flesh for England.
"We do need to look at trying to avoid leaving ourselves in situations where Mbappe is as devastating as we've all seen. We have to try to find a way of avoiding that," said Holland. "We need to work to figure out how to prevent that," he added.
England's deputy commented that his team would do everything possible on the field to stop and curb Mbappe. "At the same time, we will aim at our own strengths as we have some good players who can turn any game on their day," he said.
"I would like to think we won't just be looking to stop a player but we would be looking to try to do everything possible to limit his super strength whilst still trying to focus on our own strengths because we have good players," opined Holland.
He reiterated that everyone always has a plus and a minus. "If I understand correctly, it's like a game of cat and mouse where we have to try to deal with him while simultaneously looking for ways to take advantage of the weakness that his great power creates," remarked Holland.
In order to march forward in FIFA World Cup 2022 England need to find the right balance to upstage their arch-rivals France.
The quarter-final encounter between England and France will be played at Al Bayt stadium in Qatar. The live broadcast is scheduled at 10 pm (local time) on Saturday 11 December.