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Dayot Upamecano plays down Jude Bellingham threat as France await England clash

France defender Dayot Upamecano accepts England have a quality team (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)
France defender Dayot Upamecano accepts England have a quality team (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

France defender Dayot Upamecano does not believe Jude Bellingham poses a significant threat in their World Cup quarter-final meeting.

The 19-year-old Borussia Dortmund midfielder has been England’s star performer in Qatar and while the French centre-back, who plays for Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich, appreciates his talent he is not overly concerned by the damage he can do.

He did, admit, however, that when Bayern and Dortmund meet it is “war”.

“I wouldn’t say Jude Bellingham is a threat but they have a very strong team,” he told a press conference.

“I know Bellingham: Bayern v Dortmund, it’s war.

“He has got real talent and is a very good player, is gaining in experience as he is playing in all the matches so I think it will be a really good fight in midfield.

“We will use our experienced players, (Adrien) Rabiot and (Antoine) Griezmann, and count on them.”

Upamecano was at the heart of the RB Leipzig defence thrashed 5-0 by Manchester United in the Champions League just over two years ago when Marcus Rashford scored a hat-trick.

The United forward is probably unlikely to start against France despite his own good form in Qatar and that points to the strength in depth Gareth Southgate has at his disposal.

“Rashford is a very good player. I’m not going to be focused on one player though,” added Upamecano.

“England have some really good players, a really good bench for sure, and have a lot of players who can make the difference.

“We are going to have to be careful and focused.

“It is going to come down to details so we are going to have to make the least amount of mistakes as possible and I think that team will win the game.”

Upamecano has been likened to France World Cup winner Marcel Desailly and he has been taking advice from the former AC Milan and Chelsea star.

“I have got a lot of respect for Marcel Desailly. We have spoken to each other before a couple of games and he has given me some advice,” he said.

“It’s a privilege to speak to someone like that. He was a winner, a warrior and a great example so it’s good to have someone like that giving you advice.”