England’s oldest and fastest player Kyle Walker targeting Euro 2020 glory
By Mark Mann-Bryans, PA
Kyle Walker is targeting Euro 2020 glory with England as the oldest member of the squad claims he would already be taking home the gold if challenged to a 100-metre sprint by any of his team-mates.
The 31-year-old is likely to start in Sunday’s Group D opener against Croatia at Wembley, with the Manchester City full-back preparing for a another tournament with the Three Lions.
England have one of the youngest squads at the finals, with Walker and Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson the only two players over the age of 30.
Despite that, Walker remains one of the fastest players in the Premier League and is confident he could still leave the rest of the squad in the dust in the 100 metres.
“I’ve been with England for 11 years now so I must be doing something right to be called up at the age of 31,” he told the Official England Podcast.
“I always say to the young ones, ‘You might think I’m old’ and they gave me a bit of stick when I shout ‘Oldest starts’ in the possession or games.
“But I say, ‘If any of you want to race me, I am more than happy…and I’ll probably give you a head start as well’.
“Who would win a 100m race at England? Me. If anyone told you different, they’d be lying!
“Marcus (Rashford), Luke Shaw, Phil Foden and Raheem (Sterling) are also quick…but we have a team blessed with pace in different areas and hopefully we use that to our advantage.”
Walker did not feature in England’s two warm-up wins, having been given an extended break after turning out for Manchester City in the Champions League final defeat to Chelsea.
Despite coming up against Mason Mount, Reece James and Ben Chilwell in the final, Walker insists all allegiances have now been put to one side.
“I’m feeling good and really excited for the tournament,” he said.
“With the players we have, I think it’s going to be a good one but we need to produce on the big stage really.
“It was disappointing what we had to go through with City and, losing the final, you want to get back on the pitch as soon as possible.
“You have a couple of days when you are down, I can assure you of that. But there is no time to be disappointed. Football is a game at the end of the day.
“We have to take our hats off to Chelsea. Big congratulations to them for putting the game plan in that they did and they won.
“Now I am fully focused on England and it’s about coming together as a team – City, Man United, Liverpool, Tottenham. We need to do the best for our country and put the England hat on.”
Walker’s City team-mate Phil Foden has been tipped to star at the Euros and he arrived at St George’s Park with an eye-catching new haircut.
The 21-year-old was sporting dyed blond hair, eliciting comparisons to Paul Gascoigne’s memorable trim at Euro 96.
Asked about the players who could be instrumental during the coming weeks, Walker was quick to aim a joke at his club-mate: “Don’t forget Gascoigne with his hair – I don’t know what he’s doing.
“It’s different but it shows Phil, he’s a very confident lad on the pitch.
“But first and foremost, he’s a down-to-earth guy, he’s really humble and he takes things in his stride.
“I hope he takes the backlash from this haircut in his stride too.
“It’s got to be a publicity stunt hasn’t it? It’s got to be. ‘What can I do…Euros? Gazza? Yeah, go on – dye it blond’.
“Has he given me inspiration? I haven’t got much hair left so I’m not going to play about with it.”