'Disappointing' - Kyle Walker has subtle dig at Tottenham boss Pochettino
By Richard Parks
Kyle Walker has revealed that he needed to leave Tottenham in order to win trophies and work with Pep Guardiola.
In an interview with Sky Sports ahead of Sunday’s League Cup final between Manchester City and Arsenal, the England international had a subtle dig at Mauricio Pochettino as he explained how he is a “wiser player” than 12 months ago and has refined his game under Guardiola.
The 27-year-old joined City last summer after they paid Spurs £53million for his services, making him the world’s most expensive defender in the process.
Walker explained why it as a particular thrill to come under the guidance of City boss Guardiola and how he has smoothed down the rough edges to his playing style.
“Working under Pep Guardiola, a chance like that doesn’t come along too often, that’s no disrespect to Mauricio Pochettino, but the people that Pep has worked with grow as players,” Walker told Sky Sports.
“Tottenham were in a fantastic position when I left, they’d finished second twice, and people might ask why I left then and it was kind of a gamble, but it has paid off now.”
The right-back spent six years at Spurs and made 229 appearances, but failed to win any trophies and he explained that was key to his exit.
“For me, I want to win stuff,” admitted Walker. “I hate losing, and to be with Tottenham for the number of years I was and not pick up anything was disappointing.
“We were very close for two seasons, with Leicester and Chelsea, but we just fell short and I don’t want that to happen here at City.
“I think I’m a wiser player [than a year ago]. I’ve learned a lot more about the game, in the six or seven months I’ve been here.
“The use of the ball, as well. The gaffer is a big believer in keeping the ball and playing in triangles, as everyone’s aware of. It’s just educated me really.
“Saving my energy has been a big thing. At Tottenham we played a different system, and getting up and down the right flank, but sometimes you come up against world class players and they’ll take you the other way, and you need to be acute.”
Football Insider verdict:
Read between the lines and the message from Walker is clear: he is certain that Pep has made him a better player. Whichever way you look at it, the England right-back believes he has taken his game to a new level for City, where he is playing in a less one-dimensional way than at Tottenham, where the emphasis was on bombing up and down the flank rather than retaining possession and ripping teams apart by a thousand cuts.
In other Tottenham news, it can be exclusively revealed that a centre-back has agreed contract terms with Spurs.
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