Kyle Walker breathed a sigh of relief after hearing Mauricio Pochettino had agreed a new Tottenham contract and insists the club’s title challenge is not over yet.
Pochettino has struck a verbal agreement over a two-year extension, which will keep him at White Hart Lane until 2021. The deal is now with the Argentine’s lawyers and expected to be confirmed in the coming days.
Manchester United, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain had all reportedly considered Pochettino for their top jobs next season after the 44-year-old has led Spurs to second in the Premier League and all-but secured Champions League qualification.
Walker was being interviewed upstairs at Tottenham’s training ground on Friday as Pochettino announced his new deal and when the full-back was told, his reaction was telling.
“I’ve been waiting for someone to say that for ages now! He’s said it? Thank god for that. I’m over the moon,” Walker said.
“It is a relief. There is always going to be speculation. It happens all the time.
“This player is going here, this manager is going there but I think that’s not for me to talk about or for any other player to talk about. We just need to conduct ourselves professionally.”
Pochettino is an immensely popular figure in the Tottenham dressing room and it is understood there was a growing nervousness among the players about their head coach’s future.
The squad’s young crop are particularly loyal with the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Erik Lamela and Danny Rose, as well as Walker, all enjoying remarkable progress under his tutelage.
“For me, he’s not just the manager on the pitch but it’s how he is off the pitch. That says everything for me,” Walker said.
“Some of the managers that have come in, you know…there’s young players here now and sometimes they do need an arm around them and to say, ‘you can do this’, sit them down, ‘look at the TV screen, you can do this better’, because we are still learning.
“We are probably not in our prime yet, most of us, so we are still learning and he is the man to take this club forward and onto new levels.
“It’s just everything about him, his aura as well. It’s just fantastic.”
Tottenham visit London rivals Chelsea on Monday, knowing their title challenge could be over by the time they kick-off if Leicester beat Manchester United on Sunday.
Even if the Foxes are not crowned champions this weekend, they only need three points from United, Everton and Chelsea to finish the job – but Walker has not given up hope.
“It’s a difficult one because it’s not over until the fat lady sings,” Walker said.
“Man United are still chasing something, Everton are not going to want to lose.
“There is no professional footballer who steps onto a pitch and says ‘OK, we’re just going to chuck this one in.’ Everton, probably, have a point to prove, having not had the best of seasons.
“And Chelsea likewise, the last game of the season at Stamford Bridge, they’ll want to put out a performance for their crowd, so hopefully, they’re not easy games [for Leicester].
“But first and foremost, we need to go to Stamford Bridge and win, and we’ve got two tough games after that. So nothing is a given.”