On 22nd April 2012, Kyle Walker was named the PFA Young Player of the Year for his excellent performances in the 2011-2012 season and was one of the first defensive names on the team sheet. Season highlights included scoring a 25 year rocket against A*senal and a sublime free kick against Blackburn Rovers, both at White Hart Lane, and he was talked about as England’s future right back for years to come.
Fast forward to the present day and Walker isn’t one of the first defensive names on the team sheet (probably last now) and hasn’t cemented his place in the national side. His current form has been average at best apart from the odd game and he looks like a shadow of the player we all remember from 2011-2012. Whilst he is still remains enthusiastic as ever to get forward and support the winger in front of him, his defensive game and distribution of the ball have noticeably declined this season and also at times last term. He has all of a sudden become a very frustrating player and you get the feeling he feels the pressure of the home crowd whenever he touches the ball in recent matches. Perhaps he is trying to hard to replicate his old form or he just isn’t training as hard, this isn’t clear, but he needs to win his critics over and become the asset we all know he can be.
Walker possesses an attribute that not many full backs in the Premiership have at their disposal; sheer pace. The man has plenty of it and it is a huge asset once he is at his flying best. His link up play with the winger in front of him (best seen with Lennon) is very impressive as he uses his attacking instinct to compliment intelligent movement and it usually creates chances for the team. His defensive game however still needs work. Although he has improved in this area since breaking into the team, he is still prone to the odd lapse of concentration, usually by being too casual on the ball.
You may be wondering why i named this article Kyle Walker-The Dilemma. I will explain. I wanted to discuss the dilemma that AVB may or may not be facing in potentially dropping Walker from the team. As i have mentioned, the player is really struggling to replicate his best form at this moment in time and i just think the gaffer can help the situation in two ways. The first action he could take would be to relegate Walker to the bench. This would in effect make him realise that he has become to comfortable in his position and he needs to buck his ideas up if he is to return to the starting line up. The second action would be for AVB to have a quiet word with Walker on the training ground about his recent form and ultimately stick with him for the time being, in the hope he starts to improve his game.
So what would you do? My personal opinion would be to drop Walker for a few games. His performances haven’t been good enough for a while now and i think he needs to realise his place in the team is in danger if he isn’t contributing as well as he can do. With Danny Rose returning to full fitness and inevitably winning back his left back position, Kyle Naughton can now take Walker’s place on the right. Naughton, although not as spectacular in ability, has been more solid than Walker in the games he has played and deserves a chance to show what he can do in his favoured position. Whilst it is likely AVB will stick with Walker for the trip to Villa after the International break, the debate is food for thought for what i consider to be a weak link in the team at present and i challenge the man to get back to his best form cause he really is a talent on his day.
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