Real Madrid are said to be lining up a swoop for the lightning full-back. They should, he's going to be England's right back for the next decade...
He’s the sort of player you assume will make it. He just looks like a proper high-end footballer. He’s got an armful of suitably intimidating tattoos. Some intricate facial adornment. And “Kyle Walker” is a solid, standard issue footballer’s name. And he’s got the solid build befitting a modern day defender. It’s a build that’s helped elbow him beyond fellow Sheffield United right-back Kyle Naughton. Nippy, undersized and competent in possession Naughton might be, but Walker’s got both the speed and strength to mop his mistakes up.
Any passing Tottenham fan this year will have cooed over Walker’s searing speed. It’s pace that potentially allows Tottenham to play a narrowier midfield, and Fabio Capello. He’s not some headless roadrunner either. There’s a subtlety about his ball retention and there’s confidence to beat his man lurking right there, nudging the surface. The North London Derby winner featured a sweetly struck finish, but also the assurance to commit Alexander Song to a challenge to free up the space. This ability will only improve.
Any passing Tottenham fan this year will have cooed over Walker’s searing speed. It’s pace that potentially allows Tottenham to play a narrowier midfield, and Fabio Capello.
Aston Villa fans will not have been too surprised by his derby heroics. His spell in the West Midlands featured a pair of slaloming runs and long range finishes that underlined his chrysalis. An ability to strike a ball from distance is an effective trait to possess domestically, but in the deadlock-packed international arena, it’s priceless.
Before we commit Walker to the number two shirt for the next decade, what of his competition? The cruel jibes aimed at Liverpool’s Glen Johnson, don’t, of course tell the true story. Often masterful going forward and possessing goals in his metaphorical locker, the 27-year-old probably has at least one renaissance in him yet. Regardless, his star has plummeted since arriving at Anfield and there’s little to suggest his defensive concentration will ever head north of “The David James Zone”. A thoroughly un-Capello player.
Elsewhere, centre-back Chris Smalling has, before injury, accidentally become the Premier League’s most in-form right-back. While not armed with Walker’s blistering pace, he’s mobile, robust and favourable comparison to Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng exist. Both are broad, solid defenders, handy in possession and effective anywhere across the back. Both are excellent tournament squad additions.
Perennial England outcast Micah Richards remains Walker’s remaining serious competition. Potentially exceptional, Richards is the Ivan Drago to Walker’s Rocky: bigger, stronger, but might not possess the same desire to win. Too often has his domestic and international progress felt stunted since his dramatic arrival six years ago. Why? Well, it’s folly for outsides to offer watertight explanations, but attitude and application appear tantamount to his stalling. However, recent months suggest Richards might just be back on track.
However, Walker is the current fashionable choice. And until he does something mighty silly, it might just be his shirt to lose for the next ten years. So, on behalf of all Tottenham fans: please don’t do anything stupid, Kyle.
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