Alan Browne makes Kylian Mbappe admission after Republic of Ireland’s loss to France

Alan Browne up against Kylian MbappeAlan Browne up against Kylian Mbappe
Alan Browne up against Kylian Mbappe | PA Images
The Preston North End captain was tasked with marking the France and PSG star on Thursday evening

Preston North End captain Alan Browne admitted his battle against Kylian Mbappe on Thursday night was the toughest of his career yet.

Lining up at right wing-back for the Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2024 qualifying clash, Browne was tasked with defending the French superstar. Mbappe did not score on the night, but the World Cup winners triumphed 2-0 with Aurélien Tchouaméni and Marcus Thuram scoring in either half.

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Browne has been sporadically utilised at wing-back for Preston, but this season Ryan Lowe has used him in midfield throughout. The 28-year-old equipped himself admirably against a player of Mbappe’s quality, but Browne was not one for kidding himself when asked post-match if it was his sternest test as a footballer.

“Yes, up against probably the best player in the world,” he said. “It was tough mentally as well as physically, to constantly stay switched on- you don’t get a second to switch off and admire their greatness. You do that when you watch it at club level or clips before the game. It was always going to be the case that they would hurt us at times, but it was about keeping them quiet for as long as we could.”

The result left Stephen Kenny’s men with just three points from their first four games in Group B. Ireland face Netherlands on Sunday, with the remaining three qualifiers to come later this year. Browne believes Ireland simply have to beat Ronald Koeman’s team to stand any chance of making next summer’s major tournament.

“Yes, there is probably no hiding from that,” he said. “We knew that was always going to be the case after the Greece game. Coming into this camp, we tried our best to get something from this game but it was always going to be difficult. But we’ll try to get the crowd behind us on Sunday and make it a big occasion.

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”It was a tough one. We always knew it would be as they were World Cup finalists for a reason. We dug deep and kept the score as low as we could. It could have been more if it wasn’t for the boys showing their resilience in the end. We have to shift our focus quickly on to Sunday. That was always going to be the main game coming into this camp and we have to take whatever positives we can from this.”

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