Kyle Walker wants to be 'part of history' as Manchester City bid to become invincibles

Kyle Walker
Updated 14 January 2018
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Kyle Walker wants to be 'part of history' as Manchester City bid to become invincibles

MANCHESTER: Six years ago Kyle Walker caused much surprise when he was named the PFA Young Player of the Year.
Despite the right-back impressing in a Spurs side that finished fourth, Sergio Aguero — inspirational with 23 goals as Manchester City won the title that season — was favorite.
“I don’t know how I beat Aguero to that award because he had a fantastic year,” Walker told Arab News.
Yet it remains a rare honor in his career, whereas Aguero has enjoyed title and cup triumphs while carving his name in City folklore as their record scorer.
Having made a £50 million ($68 million) summer switch to join the Argentine striker at the Etihad, Walker, 27, is now eager to share in similar success and history.
After 22 games, leaders City visit Liverpool today still on course to match Arsenal’s 2004 feat of going the entire Premier League season unbeaten.
Walker, who grew up on a Sheffield council estate, dares to dream and insisted it is not impossible to be become ‘Invincibles’.
“We’ve seen Celtic went on last year and did it, so listen, it’s possible, but in the Premier League it is going to be difficult,” he said.
“No disrespect to the Scottish Premier League, but the Premier League is tough and we have got some tough games coming up. We need to just keep approaching every game as we have done in the last four-five months and hopefully that will see us over the line.
“Of course I’d like to be part of history. I’ve got three little boys myself and if they can look at me and say daddy was a part of that then that would be fantastic. It would be a pat on the back, not just to myself, but to my mum, dad, missus and everyone who has supported me to get where I am now.
“I’ve had a difficult upbringing, but it’s all a learning curve and I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have that childhood and that learning.
“It would be fantastic if we could do it, be remembered like Arsenal, but it’s going to be difficult. We have played so many games this season and that maybe showed a little bit in the league game at Crystal Palace. We went there and got the draw, but it was so close to a loss.
“We are in all competitions we can win, so that’s a positive. But we just need to attack and keep treating every game as we have done. I think that should be enough because of the quality we have got in the dressing room and especially the striking force. I believe it’s a force to be reckoned with.”
With the chance of an unprecedented quadruple of trophies, City have become a fearsome force as a team and Walker is flourishing under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola.
“I think you have to strive in your personal terms to be the very best and play at the highest level possible,” he added. “That season, 2011-12, was a great year for me, but after that people found out I was new to the Premier League. You get that, when the first season you do well and the second and third was more difficult.
“But I think it improved me as a player mentally, that I had to adapt to different situations that I wasn’t comfortable in or that happened in the first season.
“The big thing about joining City was I wanted to have a new challenge and test myself further. No disrespect to Tottenham, but I needed something different.
“This club was the right decision for me. The manager, and how he wants his team to play and how he could develop me as a player was key, having worked with two of my favorite right backs since I was growing up in Dani Alves and Philipp Lahm.
“I’m not at their level yet, I’m still improving. I’m 27, probably at my peak now and for the next three years. But I am keen to learn and the gaffer is always showing me ways I can improve and I am taking it on board every day. Every day is a school day really.”


Saudi Arabia set to face Uruguay veterans in key World Cup clash

Updated 13 min 29 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia set to face Uruguay veterans in key World Cup clash

  • Carlos Sanchez and Cristian Rodriguez set to start for Oscar Tabarez's side
  • Green Falcon are seeking redemption after Russia thrashing

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia: Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez is poised to hand starting places to veteran opening-game substitutes Carlos Sanchez and Cristian Rodriguez when they meet Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
With the reputation of being a midfield hardman, Rodriguez — whose nickname “The Onion” was passed on from his father — has appeared for his country more than 100 times. He played at Paris Saint-Germain, Benfica, Porto and Atletico Madrid before returning home to top-flight Penarol. Sanchez has won 33 caps but has not started for his country since March last year. They both came off the bench before the hour mark against Egypt and helped change the game.
“What’s important is that we won our opening game ... and that we win the next one,” Rodriguez said.
An avid horse rider and kickboxer, he is proudly old-school and views video review as an enemy of spontaneity.
“Personally, I don’t like VAR because the Uruguayan — well, Latin American — style relies on being fast-footed,” Rodriguez said. “It doesn’t help us. It does help referees, though, especially when there are serious fouls.”
The two-time champions are aware of the Russian tournament’s potential for upsets and they were pushed hard by Egypt on Friday.
“This is a very balanced World Cup,” Rodriguez said. “Nobody really expected results like the ones with from Argentina and Brazil.”
Those perennial contenders were held to draws in their opening games.
Another surprise came in Uruguay’s Group A, when Russia shook off a shaky recent record to thrash Saudi Arabia 5-0 in Moscow.
The game, attended by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, forced the Saudi team and coach Juan Antonio Pizzi into damage control. The Saudi Arabian Football Federation has gone through three national team coaches in the past year. Its vice president, Nawaf Al-Tamayat, publicly scolded players’ “confusion and distractedness” and described the loss as being beyond “an honorable level.” Pizzi called the defeat a “shameful situation.”
The feeling is that the humiliation by Russia may force Pizzi to abandon his ambitions of fielding an attack-minded team for a more conservative lineup, but the Green Falcons only play one up top and need a positive result if they are to get out of the group.