‘It has been difficult to cope... but I feel perfect now’ Spurs ace ready for comeback
PUBLISHED: 07:46 11 December 2014 | UPDATED: 11:03 11 December 2014
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Kyle Walker is in line to make his long-awaited Tottenham comeback this evening after nine taxing months on the sidelines.
A pelvic complaint has kept the 24-year-old right-back out since March, not only ruling him out for Spurs but also keeping him out of England’s World Cup squad.
A setback saw Walker undergo lower abdominal surgery in September - a move the north London club had initially hoped to avoid - but at last a first-team return has come into focus.
This evening, 39 weeks on from his last appearance, the full-back is set to once again don the Spurs shirt when they take on Besiktas in the Europa League..
“It has been a difficult long-term injury to cope with, both mentally and physically,” Walker said ahead of the match which will decide who tops Group C.
“I have had to dig deep. Luckily I have had my team-mates and family around me to help me through.
“I came onto the scene in 2010 season and I played a lot of games, barely missing one, before this injury.
“So, while it has been very difficult for me, in some ways it has been good for me to take a step back, have a look at things and try to work on my game.
“Before when I was playing week in, week out I could not do that.”
Walker returned to first-team training a month ago and could start in Istanbul as he looks to build match fitness.
“I never thought it would happen to me, but I feel perfect now,” he said. “I am fit and I feel fresh and ready to go.
“Hopefully all my injury problems are behind me now.
“You can never say never, but I like to think they are so I can move on to help Spurs and England and get my career back on track.”
Walker said missing out on the World Cup was “most definitely” the lowest point of his absence, especially having had to miss Euro 2012 with a toe injury.
Now, though, he is only interested in the future and that focus has seen him work closely with Spurs’ new coaching staff in a bid to improve.
“I am viewed as an attacking right-back, so I have looked closely at my defending to see where it could be improved,” Walker said.
“I just think if I used my experience and a calmer head I wouldn’t leave spaces behind me.
“I have spoken about this with the gaffer and we have been looking at that and working on it.
“I think it will make me a better player, especially in the system we want to play this season.”
Walker is part of a strong-looking squad in Turkey, despite Harry Kane, Jan Vertonghen and Christian Eriksen being amongst those rested.
Emmanuel Adebayor is also absent for the Ataturk Olimpiyat Stadium encounter, having been allowed to return home due to a private matter.
Spurs head coach Mauricio Pochettino confirmed it was a family matter and, as such, had no hesitation in granting the striker’s request to return to Africa.
“I have always told you that players are human,” he said.
“Many problems happen and it is important to fix this type of problem because always family is important.”