Pochettino must be allowed to build a legacy at Tottenham, says Walker
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Kyle Walker says it is “vital” for Tottenham that Mauricio Pochettino stays for the long-term as he prepares to take charge of his 100th game at the club.
Spurs’ head coach will reach his century when the Lilywhites face Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their last-16 Europa League tie in Germany on Thursday night – and Walker hopes the Argentine will be in charge for many years, highlighting the value of his man-management skills in particular.
Asked how important it is that Pochettino has another 100 or 200 games at Tottenham, Walker said: “It’s vital. We’ve built a foundation now.
“We don’t need managers coming and going. He did well at Southampton and he’s come here and done well so he’s proved he’s a very good manager.
“His door is always open. You hear it a lot with players saying this about a manager but, really, his door is always open. Whenever you want to talk to him about something, you can knock on his door, even if it’s not about football.
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“If you’re having problems at home or you’re having problems, anything. You can knock on his door, sit, talk and it just takes the weight off your shoulders to know ‘he’s behind me, he knows how I’m feeling’. That’s it. Some managers are different, let’s put it that way, but this manager is a very good man-manager.”
Walker added: “He has been in the game, played the game, which always helps. He knows how you feel and what goes on in your head when maybe you don’t play as much as you want to – and I think everyone feels equal. If you’re starting every week or not playing as much as you want to play, he makes everyone feel equal.
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“He doesn’t just concentrate on the XI who are playing and talk to them, have banter with them. It’s the whole squad, and that’s even the players who travel and sometimes don’t even get on the bench. Everyone feels welcome, everyone feels part of the team.”
Player development is important to Pochettino, who has previously stressed that his job title is ‘head coach’ rather than ‘manager’ – and there has been a noticeable improvement from a large number of Spurs’ players, which has resulted in a collective progress and a move up the table into the title race.
“It’s training, and what he demands,” said Walker. “You have to be 100 per cent and, if not, you’re found out. If you get found out he will probably pull you into his office and say ‘what’s the matter with you?’ or you won’t play the next game.
“You need to be 110 per cent and when the team is flying, everyone wants that shirt. If you don’t put it in in training, I can assure you that you won’t play at the weekend.”