‘I don’t know right now’: Kyle Walker’s World Cup is in DOUBT as Pep Guardiola confirms the defender’s injury and refuses to provide a timescale for his return… leaving Gareth Southgate with a major defensive HEADACHE for England
- Pep Guardiola confirmed Kyle Walker has picked up an abdominal injury
- Walker limped off against Man United and missed City’s clash with Copenhagen
- Guardiola failed to put a timescale on his return, putting his World Cup in doubt
- His City and England teammates John Stones and Kalvin Phillips are also injured
Kyle Walker’s World Cup place could be at risk as the England and Manchester City defender faces a spell on the sidelines with an abdominal injury.
Walker missed City’s 5-0 Champions League win over FC Copenhagen on Wednesday night, and afterwards Pep Guardiola said he was unable to put a timespan on how long he will be out for, with only six weeks until the start of the World Cup.
‘It’s something abdominal and he will be a while out,’ Guardiola said. ‘I don’t know (how long). I cannot say anything else.
Kyle Walker’s World Cup place could be at risk as he faces a spell on the sidelines with injury
‘Kyle will be out for a bit. We have to speak to the doctors. Hopefully he can get (back for the World Cup) like Kalvin (Phillips).
‘I know how important the World Cup is for the players but honestly I don’t know right now.’
Walker limped off during Sunday’s 6-3 derby win over Manchester United, being replaced by Sergio Gomez after 41 minutes.
The 32-year-old has played eight times in all competitions for City so far this season and has been an integral member for Gareth Southgate’s England side over recent years.
The Man City defender’s injury provides another selection headache for Gareth Southgate
Walker has excelled and been an integral part of Southgate’s side over recent years
He played both games during the most recent international break and was a key man in England’s run to the semi-final at the 2018 World Cup and run to the final at Euro 2020.
The injury to Walker comes after fellow City teammate Kalvin Phillips was ruled out of the last international break through a shoulder injury, with the midfielder left sweating on his World Cup place.
Similarly, John Stones also limped off during England’s clash with Germany in the Nations League.
John Stones was injured against Germany in the Nations League clash with England last month
There were fears that Stones was similarly at risk of missing the World Cup, although these have been allayed by Guardiola who confirmed the injury in his pre-match press conference ahead of last weekend’s clash with United.
Guardiola told reporters: ‘No I think he (Stones) will not be injured for five to six weeks but it will be less. Normally hamstring can be four to six weeks. I don’t know when he will be back but maybe 10 days to two weeks hopefully.’
Joao Cancelo started at right-back for City on Wednesday in Walker’s absence with Sergio Gomez on the opposite flank, but in the second half Guardiola introduced two teenage full-backs – first the 17-year-old Rico Lewis at right-back, then Josh Wilson-Esbrand, 19, on the left.
Pep Guardiola brought on several youngsters in the second half of Wednesday’s game, including 17-year-old full-back Rico Lewis who was praised by the Spaniard after the match
Both impressed, earning applause from Guardiola on the sideline as Lewis made a vital block in to deny Paul Mukairu, while Wilson-Esbrand linked up well going forward.
‘We need everybody involved,’ Guardiola said. ‘Rico is just 17, but I know the problems we have right now. We don’t have many options at left-back and right-back.
‘Rico showed me again today we can rely on him perfectly enough even though he is only 17.’
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