‘No-one is safe’ – Paul Merson fears this Man City player’s England career is over
Former footballer Paul Merson has expressed his concern over Kyle Walker’s omission from the England team, fearing the defender’s international playing days could be over as Gareth Southgate opted for three alternative options at right-back.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Aaron Wan-Bissaka were given the nod by the England manager ahead of the qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo – with former Spurs full-back Kieran Trippier earning a start at the weekend for England’s 4-0 victory at Wembley after the Manchester United defender withdrew with injury.
With Walker missing out on a place in the squad altogether, Merson feels the upcoming major tournaments – coupled with the City player’s age – could signal the end is near for Walker on the international stage.
In his Daily Star column, ex-Arsenal man Merson said: “Kyle Walker has a job on to get back in the England team and he isn’t the only one who should be worried.
“Gareth Southgate has done the right thing dropping him because it sends a message out that no-one is safe.
“Kyle Walker is 29 years old. Will he play at the next World Cup? We’ve got to be going there looking to win it and he’ll be getting on by then.”
Walker will be 32 by the time the winter World Cup of 2022 rolls around – though Southgate did select the likes of Ashley Young and Gary Cahill to form his defence in his previous World Cup squad with those players in their thirties – so all hope is not lost for Walker’s aspirations of a trip to Qatar.
Trippier’s inclusion in the present squad also suggests a willingness from Southgate to rotate the position, with the Atletico Madrid defender missing out on appearing in the Nations League finals last summer.
And with England looking to secure qualification for Euro 2020 at a canter (with three wins from three so far), perhaps Walker could feature in a future squad if Southgate is afforded the luxury to experiment ahead of the tournament.
So while Merson’s concerns suggest Walker has work to do, purely persevering could be enough for him to warrant a return to the England setup.
Is Kyle Walker’s international career over? Was it harsh for Southgate to drop him from the squad in the first place? Let us know by leaving your comments below!
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