Man City gamble has backfired as Walker return date revealed

By Ben Dinnery

12th May, 2022 | 9:30am

Medical expert: 'Distant' Kyle Walker return date revealed after new Man City twist

The gamble Man City boss Pep Guardiola took on Kyle Walker’s fitness has backfired – but it could just have easily gone the other way.

That is the view of injury expert Ben Dinnery, who runs the Premier Injuries site and has a background in medicine and data analysis.

Guardiola had suggested that Walker, 31, would miss the rest of the season before the second leg of the semi-final tie against Real Madrid last Wednesday (4 May).

But the right-back returned to the starting XI for the dramatic 3-1 defeat at the Bernabeu despite nursing an ankle injury.

He was forced off with 20 minutes to go and, as quoted by The Athletic last Sunday (8 May), Guardiola revealed that he is now eyeing a return to training ahead of pre-season.

City currently have just three fit defenders, with John Stones and Ruben Dias also out for the season.

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But Dinnery still insists that Guardiola’s decision to risk Walker in Madrid was warranted.

“The first thing you look at is if they win or not, and they didn’t,” he told Football Insider’s Adam Williams.

“If City had progressed, everyone would have said it was a great call. Walker played fairly well.

“Yes, he has suffered a setback and we’re looking at what feels like a distant return ahead of pre-season. But if that doesn’t spill over too far into the close season, you can say it was a risk worth taking.

“These Champions League games are always going to involve big calls. Players will know the risks before they go into them. They had already lost John Stones and Nathan Ake was hampered with an ankle problem.

“So, the gamble hasn’t paid off but on another day they might have won and he might have been lauded for that decision.”

Walker has scored once and supplied two assists in 31 games this season.

City, who beat Wolves 5-1 on Wednesday (11 May), need four more points to mathematically seal the league title.

In other news, major development in Liverpool and Man City race to sign Aurelien Tchouameni.