Rio Ferdinand: This surprise Tottenham player is one of the best in the world
By Tottenham correspondent Tony Hughes
Rio Ferdinand has hailed Kyle Walker as one of the best players in the world in the wake of England’s win over Wales on Thursday afternoon.
The Tottenham right-back was named the official man-of-the-match for his purposeful display as Roy Hodgson’s team came from behind to win the Group B clash at Euro 2016.
Walker had 76 touches in the game and was one of England’s key attacking outlets with a series of driving runs on the right flank.
The 24-year-old caused problems for Wales wing-back Neil Taylor on the left side of the team’s defence.
“He typifies the modern full-back, he is like a winger,” Ferdinand told BBC One’s Match of the Day programme in the aftermath of the game. “His pace, his intensity, he was like a machine. He doesn’t do anything in slow motion, everything he does is at full pelt.
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“He puts the opposition full-back or wing-back under huge pressure. He asks the question, ‘are you willing to run with me up and down this pitch for 90 minutes?’ If you’re not, I will motor past you consistently throughout the game.
“I’ve always been critical of his defensive play in his own third of the pitch where he’s not as comfortable. But when you’re on the front foot I don’t think there’s many better in the world when you’re looking to win the game and attack.”
Ferdinand’s acclaim of Walker is a surprise as his Spurs colleagues Harry Kane and Dele Alli had been hailed as two of England’s stars going into the tournament.
Alli has had a reasonable start to Euro 2016 but Kane has disappointed and was hauled off at half-time against Wales with Roy Hodgson’s team 1-0 down.
England totally dominated the match but Gareth Bale had given Wales the lead with a 35-yard free-kick just before half-time.
Jamie Vardy levelled with a poacher’s striker just after the break and, just when Chris Coleman’s dogged side had appeared to have secured a point, Daniel Sturridge scored the winner in added time.
In other Tottenham news, the club are confident of sealing a £26million deal within weeks.