“It’s just beautiful to see.”
Rio Ferdinand can sympathise with centre-halves dealing with the incredible speed of Kylian Mbappe at Euro 2020.
Mbappe has not yet found the net for France at the tournament but he has caused plenty of problems with his remarkable pace and Ferdinand, who was no slouch in the quickness department, revealed that only two forwards caused him similar concerns during his prime.
Watching how the France talisman beat Mats Hummels for pace in the Group F clash between France and Germany, Ferdinand was reminded of his panic when he had to play against Nicolas Anelka and Michael Owen.
“I would love to have had a heart rate monitor on Hummels at that point, when the ball went behind him and he was 20 yards in front and he turned to see Mbappe going through the gears,” Ferdinand told BBC Sounds.
🗣 "You were looking around and just phoning a friend: 'Please, come and stand near me!"
— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) June 19, 2021
Rio Ferdinand on Kylian Mbappe
“His heart rate monitor would have been flying through the roof.
“I only ever felt like that in my prime, when I was young – forget when I was at QPR because I felt that every week – but in my prime, the only two people who made me feel like that ever were Nicolas Anelka when he was at Arsenal and Michael Owen at Liverpool.
“Those two players, if you were ever on the halfway line and you had no-one around you and just space in behind you, you were looking around you and just phoning a friend like, ‘please come and stand near me because this could be a problem!’
“With Mbappe, it’s just beautiful to see.”
Hummels, of course, ended up getting the better of Mbappe in that battle with a perfectly-timed tackle in the box but France beat Germany 1-0.
Both sides are well-positioned to progress to the knockout stages of Euro 2020 but Portugal could well have a say in how the group plays out as they face Didier Deschamps’ side on Wednesday.