Kyle Walker He remembers the pain and it wasn’t the kind that many left wingers experience when they find themselves in a race against him, his legs are on fire. Manchester City and England’s roadrunner accelerated past them. It was the feeling of rejection. Pep Guardiola readjusted his team, changed the role of right-back, and the player who played on defense for Catalan more than anyone else was suddenly deemed unnecessary. “He can’t do that,” Guardiola said bluntly.

“Did it hurt? Of course it did,” Walker thought. Of course it did. You start to doubt yourself, but you have to go back to the basics that you’re good, what he bought you for, and you have to prove him wrong, and that’s what I did. Sometimes you don’t always agree with certain views in football, but what he’s done for me and Man City over the last six years has been really great.”

Nearly six weeks after Guardiola’s damned assessment, it’s no exaggeration to say his third chance to win and City’s first. Champions League Listen to Walker.

Summoned, re-emerged, summoned for an expert mission. Guardiola may reinvent Walker’s friend John Stones as half-back, half-midfielder, but there are jobs that require a full-fledged defender. Walker seems like a man of enviable duty. He was a direct opponent of Kylian Mbappe in the quarter-finals of the World Cup, of Gabriel Martinelli in the Premier League title, and Vinicius Junior in the Champions League twin draws.

He can go to Stop Vinicius and City Istanbul. But then, as Trent Alexander-Arnold can testify from his bitter experience, stopping him may be next to impossible.

Walker’s voice seemed unaffected. “Obviously it’s a personal battle against one of the best players in the world, but I’ve met many people over the years who were just as good,” he said. But I think he’s in the best shape of his life.” This was proven when the Brazilian scored a superior goal at the Bernabeu last week; however, Walker was innocent for this and was well acquitted.

Rarely an exaggerator, Carlo Ancelotti branded Vinicius as the best player in the world after he gutted Liverpool. The same explanation could apply to any other Walker.

“You have to give him the respect he deserves, like when I played with Mbappe at the World Cup, but you’re not going to say, ‘Go ahead and go ahead and score,'” Walker said. “I represent Manchester City, the ambition is huge for this club, so if I can’t compete with these top players, be it Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea or whatever, I shouldn’t be here, I shouldn’t be here.” As I talk to you in this chair, I have to make sure I stand up to the best and deal with the best.

He embraced Vinicius as a gesture of admiration that came with a warning after the first stage. “I went to hug him for trying to give me a rainbow flick, so it was like ‘please don’t try this again – I don’t want to be a meme,'” she explained. A Brazilian agent has a reputation as a provocateur, but Walker’s voice sounded carefree.

“It doesn’t bother me much if someone is bullshit,” she insisted. “I’ve had more difficult things in my life than people trying to gas me up and get a reaction from me. We’ve seen a few clips of him easily falling over and asking for a yellow card, but it’s an integral part of the game. Let’s not take away his football, he is a very good player.” So it could be another hug. “I’ll give him the respect he deserves (after the final whistle), but before that, dogs eat dogs,” he said.

(Getty Images)

Or maybe a canine breed dog. Walker has a timelessness. Except for backup goalkeeper Scott Carson, he is the oldest player in the City squad as well as the oldest in England in the last two tournaments. He will turn 33 on the last day of the Premier League season, but the years have not slowed him down.

“I’m not old,” he argued. “I still feel great, I still feel fit. I should probably say a big thank you to my mom and dad for genetics. Some players are starting to slow down, but I think one of the lads in sports science said I hit 37.5 kilometers per hour in the speed thing the other day.

He’s not City’s only sprinter. Training at City does not consist of 100m races, but one is worth watching. 52-goal striker Erling Haaland has beaten many rival defenders this season. A teammate thinks he can beat him. “It takes a while for both of us to get up to speed, but I think Erling is very, very fast,” Walker said. “But I still have to support myself…”