Kyle Walker-Peters has admitted that he has taken Jose Mourinho’s advice about the importance of having a nasty streak while on the pitch to heart.
In Amazon’s fly on the wall documentary on Tottenham’s season, the Portuguese coach is seen repeatedly demanding that the Spurs squad stop being nice on the pitch and do what is necessary to win.
Walker-Peters, who was snapped up by Southampton last month after impressing on loan at St Mary’s last season, has revealed that he is now much more willing to irritate the wide players he is up against.
Speaking to The Sun, the right-back said: “Sometimes you need to be a bit of a b*****d and you need to upset the person who is trying to dominate you.
“It’s something I’ve really developed in my game. In the last seven games of last season I was thinking of ways to be nastier on the pitch.
“Not nasty in terms of going into stupid tackles, but putting my opponent off, or irritating him.
“The way I like to irritate them is I know they don’t like to chase me. So in possession, I’m always running, moving.
“If I’m on the ball, I’m dribbling. I know wingers hate tracking the full-back. I’m very fit and I can run.
“It doesn’t have to be with a tackle, it can be a b*****d in terms of, ‘I’m going to make you run and have a horrible game’.”
The 23-year-old made the right-back slot his own towards the end of his loan spell last season and put in several impressive displays for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men.
The Tottenham academy graduate will be hoping to build on that in what will be a crucial campaign this time out with the European Championships at the end of it.
Walker-Peters certainly has some work to do if he is to enter Gareth Southgate’s plans, with England having several good options at right-back but the defender is confident that he will get his opportunity if he proves himself on the South Coast.
He added: “The only way of getting into the England team is by playing regularly and performing.
“I felt I did that towards the end of last season and now I need to continue that and show consistency and then there’s no reason why I won’t get selected for England.
“There’s a lot of competition. There’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Reece James, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker . . . these are the guys I’m competing with.
“But my main focus is staying in the Southampton team and achieving the goals we want to achieve.”
Spurs Web Opinion
England have an embarrassment of riches at right-back and so I cannot see Walker-Peters making the squad for the Euros no matter how good a season he has for Southampton. However, both Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier are unlikely to be part of the squad in a couple of years’ time. For the best part of the next decade, Walker-Peters will be competing with the likes of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Reece James, Max Aarons, Matty Cash, Nathan Ferguson, and Reece James to be Alexander-Arnold’s main understudy in the position.
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