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Kylian Mbappe and Marcus Rashford are two similar players in two polar opposite systems

While Kylian Mbappe's stock has risen at the World Cup, Marcus Rashford has found opportunities limited

In Les Bleus corner: Kylian Mbappe.

With one touch Mbappe shielded the ball from Vincent Kompany, drawing Toby Alderweireld and Mousa Dembele towards him in the process.

With the next he flicked his left foot back balletically, leaving Olivier Giroud one-on-one with Thibaut Courtois.

The most remarkable aspect of the split-second move was that we’ve come to expect it from Mbappe, the second-youngest player at the World Cup.


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Mbappe has been the standout player in Russia- a statement reflected in the fact he’s currently bookies’ favourite to lift the World Cup Golden Ball award.

Comparisons with Ronaldo and Thierry Henry are inevitable but, in truth, he’s already done more than the latter had aged 19.

It was fitting that he embraced Henry at the final whistle after helping France into the final at Belgium’s expense.

Game recognise game

AP:Associated Press
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Game recognise game

In the red corner: Marcus Rashford.

A year older than Mbappe, Rashford is still stuck on the verge of greatness.

He’s arguably the most talented Englishman of his generation but has found himself victim to both England and Man United’s systems.

Let’s concentrate on England, given we’re at the business end of a World Cup tournament.

Renaissance photo, Rashford edition

Getty Images - Getty
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Renaissance photo, Rashford edition

Didier Deschamps’ tactics revolve around a mobile midfield trio of Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Blaise Matuidi with Olivier Giroud used as the focal point in attack.

Antoine Griezmann and Mbappe are therefore allowed the freedom to cause carnage in the final third.

Gareth Southgate only uses one central midfielder meaning the attacking trio playing in front of Jordan Henderson need to be incredibly versatile.

It’s a cliche, but most of their good work is done off the ball.

A team full of GOATs

Getty - Contributor
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A team full of GOATs

There isn’t much, if anything, between Raheem Sterling and Rashford.

Arguably Sterling’s pace off the mark allows him to stretch the defence better than Rashford can, which has proved invaluable during the World Cup.

Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli both benefit from their ability to play central and drop in when needed. So Rashford has found himself watching on from the sidelines for the majority of the tournament.

He’s undoubtedly a star but, as things stand, this star doesn’t fit the galaxy.

Not a bad Plan B

Getty Images - Getty
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Not a bad Plan B

It’s pointlessly tantalising to imagine what Rashford would do were he replace to Mbappe in France’s starting line-up.

For now he’ll have to watch Mbappe taking the world by storm and hope for a chance to impress off the bench.

It beats turning to Darius Vassell in times of need.