Last season saw Kyle Walker burst on to the scene at White Hart Lane, making the Tottenham right-back position his own, making his full England debut and claiming the PFA Young Player of the Year Award.
This term has been more difficult for the 22-year-old, who came through the ranks with hometown club Sheffield United, and has been prone to defensive lapses that have cost his side. The most recent of which was at Anfield on Sunday when his wayward back pass allowed Stewart Downing to nip in and equalise for Liverpool who went on to win the game 3-2.
It has been a case of second season syndrome for Walker who had forced his way into the England set up, picking up four caps to date, and was putting serious pressure on Glen Johnson for the number two shirt with his strong displays for Spurs.
Johnson’s own form has been good leaving Walker trailing behind but the Sheffield born youngster remains in Roy Hodgson’s thoughts, helped by a lack of strength in depth at right back.
Walker is still a young man with plenty of time to overcome this difficult patch. His problems stem from a lack of concentration that often lead to him being caught out of position; the majority of the time his electric pace can bail him out but on the occasions that it doesn’t it leaves his team exposed.
It is an issue that fellow England defender Micah Richards suffers from and it is important that the pair hone the art of defending to take their games to the next level, getting into position allowing them to use pace as a last resort rather than the first port of a call.
It’s good to see Andre Villas-Boas put his faith in Walker and continued to pick him through this troublesome patch and he’s sure to come out stronger for the experience; all young players are bound to go through dips in form.
Walker has more than enough quality to come through this mini-slump and he will be keen to get back to the standard of performance he produced last year, especially with the prospect of Champions League football next season, and he appears to be in exactly right place to do just that.
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