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England could use Jose Mourinho 'soldier' blueprint to nullify France star Kylian Mbappe at World Cup

Adnan Riaz

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England could use Jose Mourinho 'soldier' blueprint to nullify France star Kylian Mbappe at World Cup

Steve Holland has hinted that England could take a page out of the playbook of Jose Mourinho in a bid to stop France star Kylian Mbappe at the World Cup in Qatar.

England will face 2018 World Cup champions France on Saturday in the quarter-finals after beating Senegal 3-0 in their round-of-16 tie.

Despite injuries to Karim Benzema, Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante, France remain one of the World Cup favourites in part due to the stunning form of Mbappe.

Mbappe, who is leading the pack in the World Cup Golden Boot race, scored a second-half brace in France’s 3-1 victory over Poland in the last 16.

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England are well aware of the threat that Mbappe brings to the France attacking line, with James Maddison believing one of his teammates can stop the Frenchman.

However, Holland believes that England could deploy one method to stop the 23-year-old French forward during the quarter-final match at the Al-Bayt Stadium.

And the England assistant manager suggested that man-marking Mbappe would be an effective way to nullify his threat, adopting a tactic used by Mourinho in the past.

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Mourinho used the aforementioned ‘soldier’ tactic in his managerial spell at Real Madrid, with the Special One keen to hinder Dani Alves’ ability on the Barcelona right flank.

Holland, who worked under Mourinho at Chelsea, has hinted that there could be both positives and negatives for Gareth Southgate if he adopted the approach against Mbappe.

England assistant manager Steve Holland has hinted at a Jose Mourinho-style approach to nullify Kylian Mbappe. Credit: Alamy
England assistant manager Steve Holland has hinted at a Jose Mourinho-style approach to nullify Kylian Mbappe. Credit: Alamy

“I think there are a handful of players on the planet that you need to consider special attention to,” he said.

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“[Lionel] Messi has been one and probably still is. You’d have to put Mbappe in that kind of category.

“We do need to look at trying to avoid leaving ourselves in situations where he is as devastating as we’ve all seen. We have to try to find a way of avoiding that.

“Trying to adapt your team to cover for that whilst still trying to create your own problems is, I think, the challenge.

“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 strengths whilst still trying to focus on our own strengths because we have good players.

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“Players just as likely to cause France trouble as Mbappe would be to us. We have to find that balance.

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“I remember having a conversation with [Jose] Mourinho about it a long time ago when he was with Real Madrid, they were playing Barcelona, and they had [Cristiano] Ronaldo.

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“Alves would be the right-back for Barcelona and flying forwards in attack. He [Mourinho] would play a soldier against him to try to stop him, but then, of course, you don’t get any threat from your team from the soldier as you’re just stopping somebody -- you’re not actually hurting them.

“Then he would try to play Ronaldo against him, directly, one against one because Alves was fantastic going forwards but maybe not quite as good defensively as a consequence.”

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Kylian Mbappe, Football World Cup, England, Football, France, Jose Mourinho

Adnan Riaz
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