Kyle Walker: Resilience and Leadership in International Comeback
England's head coach, Gareth Southgate, revealed that he successfully dissuaded Kyle Walker from retiring from international duty on two occasions – first, after England's loss in the World Cup quarter-finals to France, and then after their defeat in the Euro 2020 final against Italy.
Kyle Walker, the 33-year-old right-back, marked a significant milestone by netting his maiden goal for the England national team during a Euro 2024 qualifier against Ukraine in Wroclaw, Poland, which ended in a 1-1 draw. Southgate emphasized Walker's indispensable role within the squad, describing him as "critical."
In Southgate's own words, "I've talked him out of retirement twice from international football, after the Euros and after the World Cup. I think he loves being here. If we're talking about world-class players in their position in our team, then he's probably one of them. I think he didn't realize how much value we have for him and how important he is for us. He's probably not going to thank me for sharing that."
Southgate also highlighted Walker's transformation into a mature leader for the England team. Beyond his on-field contributions, Walker's influence extended to training sessions and interviews, making him an integral figure, especially for younger players.
Regarding Walker's recent career developments, Southgate mentioned, "I think he's enjoying the extra responsibility he's had at his club, and I know he's ready to embrace that with us as well."
With England currently holding a comfortable six-point lead in Group C, they are on a promising path to secure qualification for the upcoming Euros in Germany next year. Their next challenge is a friendly match against Scotland, scheduled to be held in Glasgow on Tuesday.