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World Cup Player Focus #13: Kyle Walker

PLAYER FOCUS: Kyle Walker in the spotlight...

PLAYER FOCUS: Kyle Walker in the spotlight...

We continue our World Cup player profiles with a look at City and England right-back Kyle Walker...

WORLD CUP DIARY: Belgium and Brazil prepare for last 16

Squad role

Described as ‘indispensable’ for Club and country, Walker is integral to Gareth Southgate’s side.

A stalwart in the Three Lions’ starting line-up through their qualifying campaign, the defender cemented his place as first-choice right-back and played the full game in both of England’s group stage victories over Tunisia and Panama, before being rested for the top spot decider against Belgium.

A powerful, marauding full-back with pace to burn, Walker’s attacking prowess is as valuable as his defensive capabilities.

READ: City 100 | Ilkay's return and Kompany's joy

READ: World Cup A-Z | V is for VAR

After Southgate trialled the Sheffield-born Walker at centre-back in a 3-5-2 formation, Pep Guardiola praised his defender’s versatility, likening him to the legendary Philipp Lahm.

"He has the conditions to play there,” the Catalan boss declared. “He has the physicality, he is fast and he can pass short and long so he can play there.”

At Club level, Walker played a pivotal role in City’s league and cup success of 2017/18, making 48 appearances across all competitions (a total of 3,842 minutes), creating seven assists.

RUSSIA 2018: Kyle Walker discusses his World Cup memories

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World Cup Memories: Kyle Walker

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International highlights

Since making his senior Three Lions debut against Spain in November 2011, Walker has clocked up 37 competitive appearances for his country.

This summer’s tournament marks his first World Cup, as the right-back was unfortunate to miss out on the 2014 competition through injury. He also suffered the same fate ahead of the 2012 Euros.

He would be selected for the 2016 Euros squad but with England under-achieving, it proved to be a disappointing period.

Working his way through the youth set-up, Walker has represented his country at Under-19, Under-21 and senior level, helping the Young Lions during impressive campaigns in the U19 and U21 Euros tournaments in 2009 and 2011.

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