Guardiola retains faith in Walker
Pep Guardiola has reportedly reassured Kyle Walker that he values his contribution at Manchester City.
The £50million right-back’s England career seems to be in the wilderness following boss Gareth Southgate’s decision to exclude him from his last two squads, instead preferring Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kieran Trippier.
Walker has kept his own counsel over that decision although the 29-year-old has told pals he hasn’t given up on reclaiming his place before next summer’s European Championship.
The Citizens spent £50million this summer to sign Portugal right-back Joao Cancelo from Juventus – giving Walker further need to fret about his regular starting slot at the Etihad.
City’s top brass, however, handed the former Tottenham Hotspur player a new four-year contract at the same time in a bid to put his mind at rest and secure his long-term future.
Walker was forced off at half-time in the Citizens’ shock 2-0 home defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers before the international break, suffering from a sickness bug.
It’s understood City boss Guardiola was impressed by Walker’s desire to play in that game, despite his illness, and has recently spoken to the player to further underline the faith he still has in his abilities.
The Sheffield-born star has trained well during the Premier League hiatus and is available for City’s trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday, with the champions hoping to get back to winning ways and reduce the gap to leaders Liverpool to five points, with the Reds facing bitter rivals Manchester United 24 hours later at Old Trafford.
Meanwhile, Guardiola has also met with director of football Txiki Begiristain, with the overriding theme being that City don’t see any central defender out there which could justify them spending big in January, with Aymeric Laporte continuing to make decent progress from his knee surgery.
Gareth Freeman is an experienced journalist who can offer in-depth knowledge on a host of sports, especially football, tennis, snooker and basketball.