England defender Kyle Walker is in ‘with a good shout’ of playing in the latter stages of the group stages during the World Cup, according to injury expert Ben Dinnery.
The 32-year-old has not played any football since he had surgery on his groin following a problem he sustained in City’s 6-3 victory over Manchester United on October 2.
What is the latest news involving Walker?
Walker has established himself as a key player for England in recent years, racking up 70 caps for his nation while playing a pivotal part in their run to the World Cup semi-finals in 2018 and Euro 2020 final.
However, it seemed as though the attack-minded full-back may be forced to miss the imminent showpiece event in Qatar through injury.
Yet Gareth Southgate still selected Walker in his final 26-player squad justifying his involvement by revealing that Walker ‘will be available’ to play before the knockout rounds.
“Kyle is not back in full training yet, but he will be available before the end of the Group stage,” explained the 52-year-old tactician.
What has Dinnery said about Walker?
Dinnery told GiveMeSport: “Of course, Kyle Walker is going into this tournament, and he hasn’t had any competitive football for quite a while now. So, in terms of that sharpness, and all that match fitness, that certainly won’t be there.
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“So, you would hope towards maybe that second, or certainly third group game, he needs to be getting some of those minutes under his belt because the perception will be that those are the easier type of games where Gareth can afford to maybe blood some of those players and get them ready for the latter stages.
“So, certainly in with a good shout of playing maybe in and around that second or third game.”
Will Walker be a big miss?
England will have to cope without Walker for their opening encounter against Iran, although he is expected to play some part against the USA and Wales.
The right-back has won everything there is to win in the domestic game during his time with City, claiming four Premier League titles, one FA Cup crown and four League Cups.
For England, Walker has racked up a respectable eight assists in his 70 appearances, but luckily for Southgate, he is blessed with several top-level options in that area of the pitch.
Both Kieran Trippier and Trent Alexander-Arnold are also part of England’s World Cup setup and should provide quality cover in Walker’s absence.
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