Spurs star: Why I’ve struggled to replicate last season’s form
Kyle Walker has blamed tiredness, injuries and opposition know-how for his loss of form this season.
The right-back admits he has not been at his best since coming back from a toe injury he sustained in May, which ruled him out of the England squad for Euro 2012.
However, he feels he is beginning to rediscover the form that won him the PFA Young Player of the Year award last campaign.
“I haven’t been firing on all cylinders like I was last season,” he admitted. “But in the last few games I’m picking myself back up and getting back to the Kyle people knew last season.”
Walker thinks that, after playing 50 consecutive Premier League games, tiredness and injuries have played a major part in his below-par performances.
He said: “I found out the other night [after the game against Liverpool] that it was the 50th consecutive game I had played in the Premier League – at the age of 22 – which kind of shocked me a bit.
“I keep getting a few little niggles here and there, but they’re not going to stop me playing.
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“You do have to be careful, though, because you have to think whether it’s a warning sign and whether your body’s telling you to slow down a little bit.”
Walker was an unused substitute in the recent 3-0 victory at Fulham, ending his run of consecutive league games, which started away at Wolves last September.
The full-back went on to play an integral part in Spurs’ fourth-place finish last season, chipping in with two goals.
But he believes that success has now caused his opponents to give him extra attention, adding to his difficulties in replicating such form in the current campaign.
“I had a very good season last season, winning Young Player of the Year and everything, and so I think people know what I’m about now,” he said.
“I’ve come across it this season where I’ll have two players to take on, whereas before, I usually just had one.
“I take that as compliment, that people think I’m a threat going down that right side, but it’s something I need to change in my game to try to overcome it.”
In contrast to Walker, his team-mate Aaron Lennon has been in superb form under head coach Andre Villas-Boas.
The right winger has hit two goals and claimed three assists in all competitions so far this season, and Walker feels that his partnership with the 25-year-old is flourishing.
He said: “I think that we’re gelling a lot better this season than we did last; it could be due to the amount of games we’ve played together.
“We do still need to understand each other a little bit better because I think there’s room for improvement, but it’s a pleasure working with him and hopefully he can guide me through games as well.”
Villas-Boas has given his Spurs team the green light for “two or three” Christmas parties, and Walker added: “You’re going to have to ask the captain [what we’ll be doing]. It’s not up to me – but I wish it was!”