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Bench Kyle & Bring On Kyle

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Good afternoon.

The excellent PhysioRoom.com has Kyle Naughton due back on the 20th of this month.The reason I share this piece of fascinating piece of information is that it might prove to be of sudden relevance dependent upon what happens when England play Poland tonight.

From today’s Mirror:

Hodgson has taken Walker to Poland, despite him having a scan on his calf. The Spurs star missed training here on Monday and is unlikely to be involved against Poland. Hodgson added: “Walker has a very slight calf strain. He’s got a tender spot.”

With the Chelsea game looming it is of course another reason to make a reticent grunting noise when asked if you know the England game is on tonight. 

Taking Walker to Poland like this really is putting club before country and makes you wonder what communication system is in place between the player’s employers and the FA when it comes to situations such as this?

Thinking ahead – as the boy clearly needs to achieve match fitness and so it might be ambitious to suggest him for this weekend – but is it time to see if Naughton can do a job at right back in place of Walker?

The boss knows best he is the guy who makes the assessments in training. But if Naughton were showing some positive signs then it would be interesting to see what he might offer defensively.

I’ve been banging my ‘lack of confidence’ drum about Walker for some time. As I’ve said on the podcast, this ‘he’s good going forward’ line is largely an urban myth. He doesn’t really achieve much with his runs and as a defender all I see is him getting skinned endlessly. As an athlete he’s great, but is he anywhere near as good defensively? I think the answer is a firm ‘no.’

ODM tells me, ‘You don’t like him!’ which implies there’s something personal or irrational in my critique. This isn’t the case. Any issues with players positive or negative stem solely from their game play. Walker’s a defender who doesn’t do that job very well and his attacking play is hit and miss. 

What’s after the Blue Racists? The Bubbles Part2 then a trip to Southampton. Perfect. I’d like to see Kyle Naughton given a go for that one.

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132 comments

  • Bruxie says:

    I’m reserving judgement on Walker.

    Second season syndrome.

    We’ll see tonight.

    • Steveo1987 says:

      I agree. He is having that dip younger players have once “reaching the top”.

    • Bruxie says:

      I thought he was rubbish against San Marino, by the way.

      Lost the ability to go past less than average defenders and lack of concentration – ball going under his feet for a throw-in twice.

      If he’s injured – even slightly – bring him home.
      If Hodgson plays him and he gets really injured then we’ll have problems on Saturday and beyond.

    • rich g says:

      no we wont, hodgeson favors johnson

    • Akhtar says:

      I was horrified by Walkers capitulation of nerve (back bone) in the face of a very impressive early second half performance by Man U in Old Trafford a few weeks ago.

      His panicky clearances, poor defensive positioning and loss of nerve seriously affected the cohesion of Spurs collective defensive effort during this tumultous period. His team mates were not best served by his efforts.

      So, I agree that its time Mr. Walker examined his efforts and take advice on defending from the club coaches.

      I dont always agree with Harry Hotspur but on this occasion he is, I believe, right on the money.

  • LLL says:

    Been repeating this at every opportunity but so far nobody has listened to me. As much as I’ve seen Naughton play I’ve noticed he is predominantly a competent defender first and though less cavalier in his attacking play, perhaps that is actually preferable to Walker steaming into Lennon’s patch and then stopping and passing backwards or attempting to beat his defender and losing the ball.

  • spursguv says:

    Yep. I like Walker and think he had a good season last year. This year he lacks confidence. he not only gets skinned but he also gets the wrong side of his marker. He’s been at fault for some of the goals we have conceded. However don’t throw himout with the bath water. He does need some competition and I reckon Naughton should be picked, if Walker has a strain.

  • Woodsy says:

    Last season I struggled to see how Glen Johnson was mentioned in the same breath as Walker, who improved massively, operated well with Lennon and used his pace to make up for the odd mistake. So far this year it’s Johnson who should be offended by the comparison. As mentioned, his attacking threat is diminished and positionally he’s getting caught out more and more. I’m all for giving Naughton a go and providing some competition for Walker, who dearly needs a kick up the arse. I think we all have a lot of belief and optimism but he seems to have taken a step back since getting injured at the back end of last season.

  • JonnyArdiles says:

    I have to say that this season he hasn’t been great, but lets not write him off just yet. He is an excellent athlete(sooo quick), and last season he was very good going forward, and i actually thought he was good defensively. If he did get out of position(which ALL young players do) he had the pace to recover on every occasion that I remember. In my eyes he will only get better. Maybe a time on the sidelines will do him some good, if only to rest that calf. But come on guys the boy has amazing potential and already an England player.

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