‘Ones to Watch in 2010’ – Kyle Walker

Tottenham defender Kyle Walker was part of a double deal with fellow Sheffield United youngster Kyle Naughton, with Spurs picking both of them up for an undisclosed fee in the summer. Operating mainly as a right back, Walker was loaned straight back to the Blades to gain further experience in the Championship and has been a regular at Bramall Lane this season. The young full back has since been recalled by Harry Redknapp and Walker will be hoping for the opportunity to get some first team action this season.

Kyle Walker was born on the 28th of May 1990 and prior to his move to Tottenham, he had been involved in Sheffield United’s youth setup since the age of 7. The 19 year old defender has been loaned out to gain experience before, having joined Northampton Town in 2008 for a short spell with the Cobblers. Walker only made his full debut for the Blades in January of this year in a FA Cup tie against Leyton Orient, before being drafted into the team for the last two games of the season due to injury. His excellent performances earned him a starting place in all of the Blades’ playoff matches, including the defeat in the final to Burnley in which he became the youngest Sheffield United player to run out at Wembley.

Harry Redknapp obviously saw something he liked in the inexperienced youngster and signed him along with Naughton in July to the credit of the Sheffield United academy. The Blades’ manager Kevin Blackwell was delighted to take him back to Bramall Lane and the quick right back has put in some stellar performances in the Championship this season. Walker is not the tallest defender at 5ft 10in, but his pace is one of his major assets, giving him the ability to get up and down the right hand side and makes him an attacking threat as well. To some extent his attacking attributes are getting more attention than his defensive displays, but he is more than solid at the back and when added to his pace and power going forward, he has the potential to become a top quality full back.

Kyle Walker’s season has gone from strength to strength and has played in all of Sheffield United’s league games this season, arguably being their player of the season so far. Added to his performances in the UEFA U19 European Championships where he helped the Three Lions to the final, Walker has had an unbelievable 2009. In the space of 12 months he has gone from a promising youth team player, to one of the stars of the Sheffield United team, having appeared in 2 finals and secured a move to the Premiership along the way. Walker now has the opportunity to prove his worth at his parent club and with Corluka the only recognised right back at the club, then surely a Premier League debut is not too far away.

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