Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has admitted that England’s right back Kyle Walker has no place in the current Manchester City tactical set up, indirectly casting doubt on the defender’s future at Etihad Stadium.
Walker had only started a single match out of the last five Manchester City matches in all competitions. The last match he started was against Newcastle in the Premier League.
His teammate John Stones had stepped up in the right back position and succeeded well in moving into the midfield, making it difficult for Walker to step into the Manchester City starting lineup at the moment.
Guardiola claimed Walker cannot do what Stones was doing. The Spanish manager explained that Stones has other characteristics that Walker doesn’t have.
Guardiola continued by stating it will take time for Walker to do what Stones is doing, but there is no time for them as they are chasing the triple before the end of the season.
However, Guardiola wants Walker to do two things. The first is to never complain if he is not getting enough starts; if he complains, there is going to be a big problem, and the Manchester City manager could sell Walker to another club.
Secondly, he wants Walker to improve on his style of play so that he becomes undroppable. For example, look at Nathan Ake, who never played enough games for Manchester City last season, but this season, Guardiola seems to be in love with the Dutch defender.
Guardiola went ahead to praise Stones, who had replaced Walker on the right back wing, for adapting to an unpleasant position in his career. He has always played as a center-back, but playing at right back is exceptional for the England international.
The manager is happy to watch him develop every day into a very brilliant player on another wing.
Another player ahead of Walker on the pecking order is young Rico Lewis. Lewis is another player that Guardiola will choose ahead of him.
Lewis is one of the most creative players in the squad, and his style of play entices Pep Guardiola, who wants a defender capable of linking up with his attackers.
Lewis had played in the Premier League’s big matches this season and was gradually gaining more experience as a right back.
Walker had been Guardiola’s most trusted right back since he arrived from Tottenham in 2017. The right back has won four Premier League titles, four Carabao Cups, and one FA Cup so far as a Manchester City player.
The defender has scored six goals with 18 assists in 239 appearances for Manchester City.
What do you think about Walker’s omission from the squad? Does Pep Guardiola have other reasons apart from tactical ones?