Friday, October 19, 2018

I want to play right-back for England – Walker

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 22 Sep 2018

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Kyle Walker would rather play at right-back for England, despite impressing in a central role at the World Cup.

The Manchester City defender featured in a back three at Russia 2018, helping Gareth Southgate’s side produce an unexpected run to the semi-finals.

However, Walker wants to return to his more familiar role at international level after featuring regularly down the right flank for the Premier League champions in the 2017-18 season.

The 28-year-old admits he even felt “a bit awkward” in the heart of England’s defence ahead of more recognised centre-backs.

“I want to play right-back for England. I think that’s my spot. I have played there for nine years,” Walker said in an interview with the Mail.

“In the World Cup I was happy to play anywhere. Gareth Southgate felt that would help the team so I was happy to sacrifice the chance to prove that I am one of the best right-backs in the world. But I don’t see myself as a centre-half.

“When I am 30 and I haven’t got the legs then maybe I could learn that position, but I would still have to be playing it at club level to do that.

“It was a bit awkward in Russia, I won’t lie. I am a right-back playing right-centre-half when we have Gary Cahill and Phil Jones sitting on the bench.

“I felt bad for them, but it wasn’t my decision. I just had to play to the best of my ability wherever the manager picked me.”

Walker will have to usurp former Tottenham team-mate Kieran Trippier if he is to become a regular starter for Southgate on the right.

He also faces further competition at centre-back from Liverpool’s Joe Gomez, who started the Nations League defeat to Spain at Wembley earlier this month.

“It’s something I have to deal with,” he said of flipping between his different roles for club and country. “Joe Gomez is probably a better centre-half than me. It’s not my position is it?

“I have to pick it up really quickly when I go back to England because it’s not something I’m doing week in, week out. I have to put all the work I have done with Pep to the side and listen to something else.

“I am starting from scratch again and it’s a lot to take in for just three or four days. I have to re-adjust myself.”

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