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Media Watch: Walker's World Cup Pep talk

WORLD CUP PEP TALK: England and City defender Kyle Walker was boosted by a phone call from Pep Guardiola

WORLD CUP PEP TALK: England and City defender Kyle Walker was boosted by a phone call from Pep Guardiola

All eyes are on England today as they prepare for their second World Cup group game against Panama and, not surprisingly, events at Russia 2018 dominate today’s Media Watch.

First up, City and England defender Kyle Walker has revealed how he has been boosted by his very-own Pep talk out in Russia.

Talking to the Sun, Kyle said that he took a personal call from City boss Pep Guardiola in the build-up to England’s opening group game – last Monday’s 2-1 win over Tunisia – and admitted how much it meant to him.

“He phoned me just before the Tunisia game — but he hasn’t called back, so maybe I’ve not done too well!

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“When he called he just said he was going to beat me at golf when we get back. I don’t think he will.

“We have a good relationship, me and the gaffer, even if it’s just talking about golf of something like that, which I think is key.

“Poch (Mauricio Pochettino) did send me a text at the Euros saying good luck — but nothing on the scale Pep has done.”

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Walker also said that he believed that England skipper Harry Kane could be the Three Lions’ very own equivalent of Sergio Aguero

Captain Kane will lead Gareth Southgate’s men against Panama on Sunday and Walker said: “I’ve played with H since he was 15.

“I remember he used to come up for first-team training at Tottenham sometimes, then you wouldn’t see him for a couple of weeks, and he’s always been a finisher.

“Have I played with anyone like him? Probably Kun Aguero comes close.

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“Harry is that good. You put him in the box and he’s deadly, as he has proved, season in and season out for the last three years now.”

But Walker isn’t worried that the Three Lions rely too heavily on their No 9.

He said: “I don’t know what you guys feel from the outside looking in, but I remember reading something when I signed for City that Raheem Sterling didn’t score enough goals - and he answered back with 20-plus goals.

“There’s more than enough goals in the team and I think we have already shown that we are also dangerous at set plays, with the height we have got in the team.”

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Staying in England’s group and there is warm praise for Walker’s City team-mate Kevin De Bruyne in the wake of Belgium’s 5-2 win over Tunisia yesterday.

Though the midfield playmaker didn’t get on the scoresheet, Sport360 believes he was Belgium’s very own silent assassin.

“The 26-year-old failed to register an assist or a goal, yet he was the architect of destruction. It’s the subtleties of De Bruyne you appreciate most, his deceiving body shape to hide ball from man, how he eyes up a passing lane to his left then springs the ball right and the graceful glide into space.

“He is the ultimate quiet assassin with a very particular set of skills which are a nightmare for opponents because he will look for the pass and he will find you.

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“Tunisia were taken down by De Bruyne, even if the numbers don’t do him justice because once Martinez moved him out of the No6 slot and further up the pitch – he is wasted in a deeper role – the Manchester City midfielder’s precision passing routinely sliced up a helpless victim.”

There is relief across Brazil after the five-times world champions finally got their campaign up and running with a late, late 2-0 win over Costa Rica.

City’s Gabriel Jesus made a big contribution to the vital win, having a goal ruled out for offside, hitting the bar and setting up Phillipe Coutinho for his injury time goal.

And, according to the Manchester Evening News, while Jesus is delighted to be starting for his country, he modestly admits he doesn't mind who starts as long as Brazil are successful in Russia.

"That's normal that two players with chances of playing in the national team face comparisons," he added.

"It's (head coach) Tite's decision on who is better at the moment to get on the pitch. But Firmino has all conditions to be among the first 11 as well as I have.

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“I want to put my name in the history of Brazil. But we have to recognise our idols, the references," he added.

"All of them are cheering for us also to have our names guarded [in the history books]. I don’t want to erase the name of anybody, I want to put ours [there].”

Finally, on the transfer front, the Daily Mirror claim that City have reportedly entered the race along with Manchester United in a battle to sign Germany’s Jerome Boateng.

The Bayern Munich defender looks set to leave the Bundesliga champions this summer and has spoken of his admiration for the Premier League.

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Boateng spent a season at City in 2010 before joining Bayern.

He went on to become a mainstay but has not always been guaranteed a starting spot.

Boateng was sent off in Germany's 2-1 win over Sweden on Saturday as they fought back from a goal down to keep their World Cup dream alive.

As always if there is any definite news on signings, you will read it first here on mancity.com


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