Kyle Walker’s World Cup woes as Pep Guardiola confirms he will be out ‘a while’
By Ian ParkerSunday World
Kyle Walker’s World Cup place could be at risk as the England and Manchester City defender faces a spell on the sidelines with an abdominal injury.
Walker missed City’s 5-0 Champions League win over FC Copenhagen on Wednesday and afterwards Pep Guardiola said he was unable to put a timespan on how long the 32-year-old will be out for, with only six weeks until the start of the World Cup.
“It’s something abdominal and he will be a while out,” Guardiola said. “I don’t know (how long). I cannot say anything else.
“Kyle will be out for a bit. We have to speak to the doctors. Hopefully he can get (back for the World Cup) like Kalvin (Phillips).
“I know how important the World Cup is for the players but honestly I don’t know right now.”
Joao Cancelo started at right-back for City on Wednesday with Sergio Gomez on the opposite flank, but in the second half Guardiola introduced two teenage full-backs – first the 17-year-old Rico Lewis at right-back, then Josh Wilson-Esbrand, 19, on the left.
Both impressed, earning applause from Guardiola on the sideline as Lewis made a vital block in to deny Paul Mukairu, while Wilson-Esbrand linked up well going forward.
“We need everybody involved,” Guardiola said. “Rico is just 17, but I know the problems we have right now. We don’t have many options at left-back and right-back.
“Rico showed me again today we can rely on him perfectly enough even though he is only 17.”