Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

Kyle Walker brutally honest on Alexander-Arnold defending jibes, admitting some opinions ‘are right’

Kyle Walker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jack Grealish, June 2022

Kyle Walker has admitted that Trent Alexander-Arnold is bound to face more criticism over his defending, just as he is facing his own flak this season.

Liverpool right-back Alexander-Arnold has proven his attacking qualities time and time again. But, concerns remain over his defending and that side of his game has caught the eye this term.

In fact, Jamie O’Hara claimed Alexander-Arnold is a League One standard defender after Liverpool’s defeat to Arsenal.

The Anfield star will not play against Manchester City on Sunday due to an ankle injury.

City man Walker will also be absent as he battles to be fit for the World Cup after having surgery. However, the 32-year-old has insisted that Alexander-Arnold is set for more criticism.

“My personal point of view is, it’s going to happen again,” Walker told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“People are going to have doubts again. It’s football, it’s about opinions. Some opinions are definitely not right and some are right.”

Walker has proved his worth for City, becoming a crucial part of Pep Guardiola’s side. He has played 223 times for the champions since leaving Tottenham in 2017.

And in recent clashes with Liverpool, he has proved one of the most important players. Walker has made a habit of speeding across the back line to meet Mohamed Salah, Luis Diaz or Sadio Mane when the Reds are on transition to buy his team-mates time.

Kyle Walker message to Alexander-Arnold

Walker subsequently told Alexander-Arnold how he got over his past criticisms.

“I remember me being at Tottenham and people were saying I couldn’t defend,” the England star said.

“Now it’s vice versa, people say ‘he’s not good going forward but he is a great defender’. I’m still the same guy I’ve also seen a few things saying I’m losing my pace but I feel great, I feel so good.”

Alexander-Arnold and Walker will of course not play in Sunday’s latest chapter of the ever-growing rivalry between Liverpool and City.

Walker admitted “there’s not much between us” and “that is why the Premier League has been so interesting over the last three or four years”.

He concluded: “It has been points here and there, goal difference here and there and last kick of the game here and there.

“As much as people say Manchester City play exciting football and this, that and the other, Liverpool have done the same but we have pipped them on certain occasions.”

Liverpool, City clash has lost two key stars

As mentioned, Walker’s role in the City team – especially against Liverpool – has been clear to see and so crucial.

It remains to be seen how City cope without him. Summer signing Sergio Gomez has played at left-back most of the time since Walker’s injury, with Joao Cancelo switching to right-back.

However, Manuel Akanji – who also moved to the Etihad Stadium this summer – played at right-back in the 4-0 win over Southampton, with Cancelo at left-back.

Guardiola does therefore have a couple of options to replace Walker. Although, Gomez’s red card against FC Copenhagen in the Champions League will not have provided much confidence.

As for Liverpool, there is no doubt they lose out in attack with Alexander-Arnold out.

Nevertheless, Joe Gomez’s assist for Roberto Firmino against Rangers was Alexander-Arnold-esque. Gomez also offers them more stability at the back.