Following South Korea's improbable stoppage-time win over Portugal to send them to the knockout stages, BBC presenter Gary Lineker diverted his attention to England's round of 16 tie with Senegal on Sunday.
Lineker highlighted the importance of resting Kyle Walker in the clash against Senegal as there is a prospect of facing France in the quarter finals.
"Kyle Walker should not be in England's team to play Senegal, and I'll tell you exactly why.
"We cannot afford - England cannot afford for Walker to get injured, because he's probably just about the only full-back on the planet that can deal with Kylian Mbappe, and that is the French team.
"How would you take the risk, why would you take the risk of him getting injured?"
🗣 "Kyle Walker is probably the only full-back on the planet that can compete with Kylian Mbappe."@GaryLineker says Gareth Southgate should rest Kyle Walker against Senegal.— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 2, 2022
Agree? 🤔#BBCWorldCup #BBCFootball pic.twitter.com/FfVTyj0qTX
Kyle Walker had been out of action for his club since the beginning of October, when he sustained a groin injury in Manchester City's 6-3 win over Manchester United. Walker managed to get fit in time for the World Cup though and started England's final group game against Wales, though he was subbed off after 57 minutes.
Rio Ferdinand then attempted to interrupt Lineker, with the ex-England forward then quickly saying while holding his hands up:
"I don't want to be arrogant and say we're taking Senegal for granted, because what I'm saying is I don't think, given the right-backs that England have, when you've got either Trent Alexander-Arnold or Kieran Trippier, two world-class, well, wonderful players, why risk Walker?"
Lineker seemed to change his tone after Ferdinand tried to almost question him on what he meant by what he was saying, as Senegal should not be viewed as a push-over.
Kyle Walker is known for his blistering pace and is England's quickest defender by far, so to say he is the only defender in the world that can keep up with Mbappe is a fair point.
But the fact that Lineker has seemed to talk about the Senegal game like it is a guaranteed win has angered England fans on Twitter.
This is why everyone hates us. Senegal are not going to roll over, it’s not a straightforward knockout tie. It’s very close to call and you’re already talking about France? Arrogant in the extreme.— Boro Memories (@boro_memories) December 2, 2022
I get what @GaryLineker is saying but if this World cup has taught me anything it is that no team is indispensable, French team might not even make it to next round, I’d say compete with ur best at every stage, one step at a time— Ray⚡️🐬 (@rayrichmonds) December 2, 2022
This World Cup has definitely been one of the more unpredictable ones in recent memory, with underdog teams beating the big boys on a regular basis, with teams like Japan, Korea and Australia progressing to the next round and bigger names like Germany and Uruguay going home.
Japan in particular managing to beat Spain and Germany 2-1 to top their group is an astonishing feat to say the least.
It highlights more than ever that any team in this tournament, no matter who it may be, should not be underestimated.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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