Are you worried about Walker?
It seems to me that Kyle Walker hasn't quite hit the heights that many fans expected this season, but is this fair to be critical of a player that is still so young and developing?
Kyle returned to the England side last night, but was viewed as being wasteful and one of the bigger negatives in a dominating, if not inspiring England display. Since the latter stages of last season, I have noted a rapid increase in negativity towards Walker, and last season put his dip in form down to the ankle injury suffered in the build up to the Arsenal game and subsequent 5-2 humiliation. Walker like many struggled in that game, and perhaps due to a managers stubbornness or a lack of cover, it seemed that Kyle played when not 100% and his form suffered as a result.
This season and the appointment of a manager who loves attacking full-backs seemed to be a dream fit for Walker, but for me, though he hasn't been poor, he hasn't seemed to quite embrace his dual role between defence and attack and sometimes his decision making could be better, and only for his great pace has he saved the day on many occasions. Today, we ask so much of our full backs. One minute we demand they are over-lapping their midfield and five seconds later we expect then to be 100 yards back, doing their defensive duties.
Sure Walker hasn't quite been himself, for whatever reason and perhaps that is just that usual dip in form so many players get after a rapid rise up the ladder. At twenty-two, Kyle has already played just over 125 senior games for club and country, but we easily forget that he is still learning and developing and perhaps with experience he will make better decisions and for me realised that doing everything at 100 mph isn't always the best and most effective option, but I also believe he has the dedication and intelligence to understand where and what he needs to work on and sort out any deficiencies in his game.
Perhaps as a club, we need to also show him that his place isn't guaranteed and that in the other Kyle we have a player that can compete for the right back slot, but also allow for Walker to step back and take a breather instead of looking to play 50 + games a season and also occasionally playing when not fully fit. To date, AVB hasn't really had the luxury of being able to rest Walker, due to injuries to every other potential full back, but perhaps with no misgivings over Walkers quality or contribution, sometimes allowing a young player a little time to take stock, you allow him to catch his breath and become a better player as a result...