It’s safe to say not many English youngsters have had as interesting as a career as Anton Walkes has had so far.
The 22-year-old Portsmouth defender has experienced a lot already in his short career from playing in front of a few dozen people in the Premier League 2 to starting games in front of 70,000 passionate fans for Atlanta United in America, Walkes has had an interesting development in his two years of professional football.
Now a regular player in Kenny Jackett’s Portsmouth side this season since joining the club on a permanent deal, the London-born right-back could be set for a successful career after impressing in both MLS with Atlanta and now the English lower-leagues for Pompey. But what does the future hold for Walkes?
Although Walkes has impressed on the pitch, his antics off the field could be the difference between the former Tottenham academy player from reaching his potential or being another “what if” footballer.
In November last year, Walkes was issued an arrest warrant for failing to show up to court after the defender was due to appear at Portsmouth Magistrates Court after being charged for driving without a license, and this attitude is something managers and coaches won’t tolerate.
This could be a reason as to why Walkes has not been starting as much for Pompey as a player of his quality should be. The defender has only started 16 league games this season, just four more than what the 22-year-old had during his six-month loan with the club last season.
A lack of consecutive starts and a troubled past in the area could mean that Walkes’ future lies elsewhere, and what better choice than to return to America?
MLS is a league that has been growing year after year with both national and international interest increasing for America’s top football division. Walkes had a successful time in his short stint with Tata Martino’s Atlanta side, helping the Five Stripes to the play-offs in their inaugural season.
With the likes of Nani, Nicolas Gaitan and Marco Fabian joining the league this January and more stars likely to join this summer, the upcoming transfer window could be a golden opportunity for Portsmouth to cut their losses and sell Walkes to an MLS club, who could be willing to match what Pompey paid for the youngster.
Walkes has the potential to be a great right-back, but if he isn’t in the right environment there is a big chance the defender will fall into obscurity and never live up to his potential Portsmouth fans know he can reach.
Portsmouth fans, what should the club do with Walkes this summer?