Walker-Peters: I learned a lot about myself after Barcelona mistake

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Tottenham have had terrible luck with injuries so far this season with several important players being sidelined for long spells.

A whole host of players including the likes of Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele, Victor Wanyama, Eric Dier and Serge Aurier still remain sidelined.

Tottenham’s injury crisis has been good news for the club’s youngsters, with the likes of Oliver Skipp, Luke Amos, and Kyle Walker-Peters, all getting look-ins so far. Walker-Peters, in particular, has been highly rated at the club for several seasons now but hasn’t really got a run of games to impress Pochettino and his coaching staff.

The England U21 international must have been counting his stars when he got a rare start away at the Camp Nou in the Champions League after both of Tottenham’s senior right fullbacks Kieran Trippier and Serge Aurier were forced to pull out of the game with injuries.

However, the 21-year-old defender’s Champions League debut quickly turned into a disaster after he gave the ball away to Ousmane Dembélé who ran through on goal to give Barca the lead. While Walker-Peters recovered from the early mistake, he was eventually substituted early in the second half as Spurs went looking for an equalizer.

The young defender reckons that the game served as a great learning experience for him. Speaking to Sky Sports, Walker-Peters said, “I learned a lot about myself,” he said. “Two seconds after making the mistake, I was thinking, ‘You know, make sure you don’t die on the pitch!”

“I think I went on to actually play quite well,” he added. “I think I’ve got a good amount of mental toughness, to be able to do that. But again, it’s all a learning curve for me.

“Especially coming in the Champions League, in a stadium like that against such a good team. To be able to look past that… also with the help of my team-mates straight away.”

He also mentioned how the likes of Danny Rose and Harry Kane had words of encouragement for him after his early mistake.

“Danny Rose came straight over to me and said, ‘Keep going’. Harry Kane as well, he said a few things to me. As we went to take the kick-off he just said, ‘Keep going. There’s plenty of time’. That gave me confidence and that’s why I went on to play quite well.”

“It’s always going to happen once in your career. Now it’s happened I feel like I know how to deal with it. If it ever happens again – touch wood it doesn’t – I’ll know how to respond.”

The experience of playing in such a high profile game will certainly hold the defender in good stead if he is required to step in again in a big game.

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