Euro 2016: Tottenham defender Kyle Walker relishing battle for England starting spot

7 Jun

Kyle Walker says the fight is still on for starting places in England’s Euro 2016 opener against Russia.

The Tottenham right-back is going head to head with Nathaniel Clyne for a spot in Roy Hodgson’s starting XI and may just have nudged in front with a man-of-the-match performance against Portugal last week.

He has also started three of the last four England matches and has the benefit of playing his club football with other likely Spurs starters Harry Kane, Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Danny Rose.

But he is not considering it a done deal and is working hard to catch Hodgson’s eye before Saturday’s clash in Marseille.

“You’re always coming out trying to impress. You want that shirt come Russia,” he said after taking part in an open training session in Chantilly.

“It’s difficult, you don’t know who he’s going to pick but that’s not up to me to decide.

“All season at Tottenham, with Kieran Trippier, I’ve had someone snapping at my toes. I think it’s good to have that healthy competition.

“Nathaniel is a great player so whoever gets the nod for the Russia game I’m sure they’ll do well. He’ll get my full support if he is starting.

“If we don’t get the nod we need to show our encouragement and togetherness as a team to push the other lads on who are playing.”

Walker is appearing at his first major tournament this summer, having missed the World Cup two years ago through injury.

But despite missing that from his CV, he feels he is at the perfect point in his career – in terms of both fitness and form – to meet the challenge.

“I’m relishing getting started now,” he said.

“I had an injury-free season and I’m finally at a big tournament. I’m 26 now and time’s not waiting for anyone.

“Hopefully I can have a good tournament for myself and for the country.

“Speaking for myself I don’t feel any pressure whatsoever. I feel comfortable, I look around and I’ve got some fantastic players around me.

“I think we can go on and win, there’s nothing saying we can’t do that.”


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