Former England international and BBC pundit Gary Lineker has urged Gareth Southgate not to play Kyle Walker in the Three Lions Round of 16 clash with Senegal so that the defender is fresh to play France in the quarter-finals.
England will play AFCON champions Senegal this weekend after finishing top of their group thanks to a 3-0 win over Wales in their final group game.
Should they win against the West African side, they could meet World Cup defending champions France in the last eight next week assuming Didier Deschamps’s side wins Poland on Sunday afternoon.
Speaking on BBC via Sportsmail, Lineker suggested Walker will be better at dealing with the threat of Kylian Mbappe against France, and so must be protected at all costs in a game England should win this weekend.
“Why would you play Kyle Walker when he is the only full-back on the planet who could keep up with Kylian Mbappe?” Lineker asked.
“No disrespect to Senegal, but you have to rest him. Especially in an area we are blessed in and could play Kieran Trippier or Trent Alexander-Arnold.”
Walker, who just returned from a groin injury, has regularly been used at either right back or right centre back by Southgate as a method of dealing with quick wingers.
Should England face France, it seems impossible that he will be missing from the lineup given his quality and that of Mbappe, who is regarded as one of the best players in the world and can boast explosive pace.