Men's Team

'Level-headed Walker has always led by example'

'Level-headed Walker has always led by example'
Kyle Walker’s key leadership skills – a quality that has helped establish the right-back as such an important talisman for City on and off the field - were already evident at an early age.

That’s according to Ron Reid who, as Sheffield United’s Academy Manager, helped oversee Walker's early development when he was first making his way in the professional game with the Blades.

Reid coached the City and England right-back at Under-18 level with the Bramall Lane side, and saw first-hand how Walker already displayed a keen intelligence for the game.

At 31, Walker is now firmly established as one of the senior figures in the City dressing room and is a highly respected member of the first team squad’s key leadership group.

He has also seamlessly transferred that composure and expertise on to the international stage with England, most recently at the Euro 2020 tournament where he was named in UEFA's official team of the tournament.

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In the concluding part of our feature on Walker’s formative years, Reid revealed how that insight and knowledge was already evident at an early age with the full-back a keen student of the game even when a raw teenager and one who was not afraid to make his voice heard when prompted.

“Kyle was quiet, but he always had an opinion,” Reid recalls.

“He never spoke out of turn, but when he was invited to have an opinion, I seem to remember it was always a sensible one.


                        WINNER: Walker proudly holds the Premier League trophy aloft
WINNER: Walker proudly holds the Premier League trophy aloft

“He could be a joker, but he was not a loudmouth. He seemed to have sensible opinions.

“I’d describe Kyle as a student of the game, but he didn’t force his opinions on anybody. He waited to be asked.

“But at times, when things weren’t going well, he would reason why they weren’t going well.

“I am not totally surprised he is in the leadership group, because he always seemed to have a level head on him.

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“Kyle was quite a humble lad. He never shouted his mouth off about how good he was, he just got on with it.

“When he gave his opinion, it was astute.

“He was knowledgeable, he knew his position, he knew his role and what was expected.

“He was a mature player.”

WATCH: Kyle Walker reacts to fast City players and clearances

Walker’s perceptive mind and astute thinking have perhaps been best illustrated by the way he has adapted seamlessly to various tactical switches asked of hime – be it by operating as an inverted full-back or, alternatively, as part of a defensive back three.

It’s just further evidence of why he is so highly admired and respected both for Club and country.

And reflecting back to their time working together, Reid said Walker’s defensive flexibility was very much in evidence during his teenage years.

“It has been no surprise to me when Kyle has played in a back three,” Reid asserted.

“I remember him playing in an FA Cup game against Hull when they were in the Premier League and Sheffield United were in the Championship.

“Kyle came in for a cup replay at Hull and played alongside Chris Morgan at centre-back in a back four and he was outstanding.

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“He didn’t show his outstanding pace until around the time he got in the first team. When he got in, he did show the pace and he would attack.

“When he moved to Spurs, he then went on loan to Aston Villa and I remember him coming to Bramall Lane and he was really pacy and scored against us that day.

“He just bombed forward – he defended as well – but the eye-catching part of his game was the way he came down that right flank.”


                        LIONHEART: Walker was one of the standout performers in England's march to the Euro 2020 final
LIONHEART: Walker was one of the standout performers in England's march to the Euro 2020 final

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