Pep Guardiola has admitted that he ‘does not know’ whether Manchester City and England defender will be able to play any part in England’s World Cup campaign this November after revealing that he will be out for ‘a while’ with an abdominal injury.
The defender pulled up during the Manchester Derby, and had to be substituted just before half time with his side 3-0 up and cruising.
However, the prognosis is more worrying than first feared, as Pep Guardiola revealed after his side’s comfortable 5-0 win over FC Copenhagen.
“It’s something abdominal and he will be a while out,” said the Manchester City boss.
“I don’t know [how long]. I cannot say anything else. We have to speak to the doctors. Hopefully he can get back like Kalvin [Phillips].
“I know how important the World Cup is for the players but honestly I don’t know right now.”
Walker is an integral part of Gareth Southgate’s back three for the Three Lions, with his pace often providing cover for the under-fire Harry Maguire, and the Englishman has racked up 70 caps for his country.
Their campaign begins with a clash with Iran on November 20th, and Southgate will be praying that Walker is fit enough to play some part in the tournament, with a lack of ready-made alternatives available to him.
Reece James has filled in there for both Chelsea and England, but to use him at centre-back would be to nullify his considerable attacking threat, though it could be a chance to get Trent Alexander-Arnold in the side too.
Alternatively, Fikayo Tomori, Ben White or Marc Guehi could step into the breach, but while all quality players they lack the experience and sheer speed of Walker.
Whether Walker proves to be fit enough or not, it is another issue in a World Cup run-up that is quickly becoming disjointed, with Kalvin Phillips touch and go, while Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire are both left on the bench at Old Trafford.