Kyle Walker has declared himself fit for England’s second group game against the USA in what could come as a major boost to Gareth Southgate, but has admitted that he doesn’t know whether the Three Lions boss agrees.
The 32-year-old has been absent since the Manchester derby at the beginning of October, when he was forced off in the first half with a groin issue that eventually required surgery. However, he was deemed fit enough for selection in Gareth Southgate’s 26 man squad, and was an unused substitute in their 6-2 win over Iran in the Group B opener.
Now, speaking at the England training camp in Qatar, he has explained that he feels fit enough to be handed minutes against the USA as he looks to complete his recovery. The clash would see England qualify for the last 16 with a win and could confirm them as group winners should Wales and Iran also share the spoils in the earlier kickoff.
Asked whether he could play a part, he told the media: “Yes. Does the manager agree? I don’t know”.
“Listen, I’m fit, I’ve been training now for two weeks and I feel sharp.”, he added. “Can you replicate what you do on a match day? Of course I can’t. Me and the physio, me and the fitness coach cannot have an 11 v 11 against each other. We can do as much as we can do before I have to go into training and kick a ball with the lads.”
“So I feel good. Obviously the manager has a tough decision to make in picking 11 players from 26.
“I had the operation, it was needed, I probably played three weeks longer than I should have done”
“The Manchester United game was the final straw when it popped. It was a rupture on my groin, I got four hooks on my groin, and I did three repairs, but it was going fantastically well, I am really happy, everyone seems to be happy with it.”
It is unclear whether or not he will be handed the opportunity to step up his recovery, with his usual place in Southgate’s back three redundant in the opener after the England boss switched to a 4-3-3, which yielded plenty of cohesive and exciting attacking play from the Three Lions.