Kyle Walker hails Tottenham’s strength in depth after FA Cup victory at Leicester
Kyle Walker believes Tottenham’s strength in depth is the best it has been during his time at White Hart Lane as the Lilywhites aim to combine their exciting Premier League campaign with a challenge for a trophy.
Spurs sit fourth in the top flight as they attempt to return to the Champions League, and last night (Wednesday) they eliminated Leicester City – one of the three teams lying above them – from the FA Cup after a 2-0 away win in the third-round replay.
Mauricio Pochettino rotated his squad, giving opportunities to a number of reserve players, and goals from Heung-Min Son and Nacer Chadli sent Tottenham through to the fourth round, securing a trip to face League One strugglers Colchester United.
“I believe there were eight changes from the weekend so it shows the strength in depth we have here at Tottenham,” said Walker. “There’s a bright future for this club and I’m glad to be a part of it.
“I think this year is the strongest team Tottenham have had, depth-wise. The players on the bench can come on and make a difference, as we saw last night, and even the players who are rested at home are fantastic players and internationals. As players you want to play as many games as possible.
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“If we keep playing games and keep playing the way we do, I’d like to take anyone on. We’re playing well this season, playing some good football and some exciting football, and most importantly since I’ve been here, we’re keeping clean sheets and that’s making the strikers’ job easier to go and win games for us.”
With Kieran Trippier now finding his feet after his move from Burnley, Pochettino has rotated his right-backs in the last six games, picking the summer signing and Walker in alternate matches.
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Walker feels the battle is bringing the best out of him, while the opportunities for rest have helped him to stay fresh and avoid the injuries that have marred his last couple of seasons.
“All I want to do is play football and play to the best of my ability,” he said. “With Kieran, he’s pushing me on and hopefully I’m pushing him on to make him a better player as well.
“In the past, when I first signed here, there were six right-backs in front of me. Competition is good for me, I play better with competition. Tripps is a fantastic lad, we’re good mates, we live around the corner from each other. He’s a fantastic player, which he’s showing now. It’s good for us both, it’s going to push us both on.
“The full-backs that play for Tottenham are explosive players. They cover nearly the most ground on the pitch, getting up and back, so it’s vital that we come to the games fresh rather than playing two games in a week - to get the legs back up and running and get out there and do what we do best.
“Whoever comes in [on either side] does a fantastic job, they don’t look out of place. It’s a credit to all us full-backs.
“I’d love to play every game but I’m 25 now, I’m getting a little bit older and I have to be careful. In my first three seasons at Tottenham I played 150-odd games. It’s fantastic to play these games but sometimes you have to take a back seat and have a look from the outside looking in, which is important to improving your game as well.”
Walker was given the honour of captaining the team in the cup tie at Leicester. He said: “I’ve done it before in Tim [Sherwood]’s first game - West Ham at home.
“It’s a great honour. I’ve been here six years now so it’s something I’ve wanted to do and I got the chance this time.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs