Search

Spurs star hails ex-Man Utd defender for impact on his game

15:11 10 October 2012

Kyle Walker has praised England coach Gary Neville. Photo credit: Stephen Pond/EMPICS

Kyle Walker has praised England coach Gary Neville. Photo credit: Stephen Pond/EMPICS

EMPICS Sport

Kyle Walker says that Gary Neville is helping to make him a better player as he prepares to make his first competitive start for his country.

England coach Gary Neville (centre) with manager Roy Hodgson during training. Photo credit: Nick Potts/PA wireEngland coach Gary Neville (centre) with manager Roy Hodgson during training. Photo credit: Nick Potts/PA wire

The Tottenham defender is poised to replace the suspended Glen Johnson at right-back for England’s World Cup qualifier with San Marino at Wembley on Friday.

Walker made his debut 11 months ago against Spain in a friendly and was in contention to be part of the Euro 2012 squad before being ruled out with a toe injury.

Walker, who was named the PFA young player of the year in April, received a call from England manager Roy Hodgson assuring him he remained part of his plans after that disappointment, and is now poised to embark on a new chapter in his England career.

And the 22-year-old feels the influence of former Manchester United and England defender Neville is helping him develop still further.

Walker said: “I’m young, I want to improve, I want to become the best I can be and Gary Neville is really helping me with that aim.

“He a player I looked up to and watched often. He had a fantastic career. He gives me tips and coaches me through things. I’m excited to be working with him.

“I’ve always liked to go forward but he has helped massively in terms of myself improving defensively. I just want to keep on learning.

“My defending is improving every time, every week. I think it is just about experience and learning off people like Gary plus the likes of Joleon Lescott, Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill.

“The decision-making has to be key. There is club level but then you step up to international level and have to be even more precise.”

Johnson’s absence will give Walker a chance in a meaningful game which may have happened earlier but for the injury which ended his Euro 2012 hopes.

He said: “On a personal note it is a fantastic opportunity for me to get into the team. I’ve been patient and waited for that.

“Hopefully on Friday I can show everyone what I can do and have a good game.

“A first competitive start is what I’ve been waiting for, for a long time now. For all my career, since I was seven, I’ve wanted to play for England, and put that jersey on.

“It’s been a very up and down year for me. I won the young player of the year at club level so it’s been good in that sense.

“At the end of the season it was a disappointment, having worked so hard to get into the England team, to have that little niggle on my toe.

“But it was fantastic the manager gave me the phone call, saying it was sad he couldn’t take me there but saying I was in his plans and he had belief in me.”

Walker, who signed a new five-year contract with Tottenham at the end of last season, can certainly not be accused of being over-confident.

He said: “I’ve done nothing. I’m 22. I’ve done absolutely nothing in my career so far.

“I had a good last season, winning the young player and a few more awards, but that’s just the start and hopefully I can go on.”

Related articles

0 comments

Latest Sport Stories

Fri, 11:55
Monaco defender Ricardo Carvalho(left) challenges Olivier Giroud during the 2014 Emirates Cup

Arsenal return to action on English soil for the first time since their FA Cup triumph when they host the annual Emirates Cup later this month.

Thu, 20:54
Middlesex's James Franklin

Hapless Middlesex remain rooted to the foot of the table after a seven-wicket thrashing by Sussex Sharks – their sixth straight NatWest T20 Blast defeat.

Thu, 15:11
James Ward in action against Jiri Vesely at Wimbledon

Camden’s James Ward has reached the third round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time after overcoming the world No45 Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic in four sets at Wimbledon today.

Thu, 12:18
Middlesex's Ravi Patel (right) celebrates a wicket with one-day captain Eoin Morgan

Spinner Ravi Patel is eager to make up for lost time after returning from injury – and halt Middlesex’s horrific nose-dive in the NatWest T20 Blast.

Most read sport

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our monthly newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Good times with Greenall's!

Good times with Greenall’s, a Great British gin sponsors Great British racing.

Escape to the picturesque sights of Cornwall

Summer is finally here, and what is the number one holiday location in the UK during the warmer months? Cornwall, of course!

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder