Walker grabs England chance

Kyle Walker appeared to form an instant understanding with winger Theo Walcott in the English national side. He compared Walcott to Spurs team-mate Aaron Lennon.

Two years ago Kyle Walker wasn't even playing in the English Premier League, yet his performances during the international break continued his rapid rise to fame.

The Tottenham right-back made his full England debut against Sweden and was clearly not daunted by the opportunity after being named man of the match in the 1-0 victory.

That came just four days after he won his first cap by coming off the bench to play a role in the 1-0 win against reigning world champions Spain. Not bad for a 21-year-old who two years ago was playing in the second tier of English football and for England under-19s.

“It's been a whirlwind of a two years for me,” Walker said. “I was in the under-19 squad two years ago. I'm thankful for the opportunity I got (against Sweden) and, hopefully, I can keep going. It's an honour, really to get out on the pitch and finally show what I can do. I'm grateful and I owe a lot to my mum and dad for this.”

Walker appeared to form an instant understanding with winger Theo Walcott. He compared Walcott to Spurs team-mate Aaron Lennon.

“I play with Azza at club level — he's a great player — and Theo's just like Azza,” he said. “Hopefully, we built up an understanding and we crack on from there.”

Walker, who was himself compared to Roberto Carlos during last summer's European under-21 Championship in Denmark, admitted it had been “a massive step up” to senior international level.

“You have to always concentrate. There are more experienced players. There are more dangerous players,” he said. “But the under-21s is a fantastic level as well and you have to have that experience coming up through there to get into the seniors. Thankfully, the gaffer Stuart Pearce gave me the opportunity to play there in the summer and I think I learnt a lot from that as well.”

As did three of Walker's team-mates against Sweden — Phil Jones, Jack Rodwell and Daniel Sturridge — while Danny Welbeck was only missing because of injury.

Walker said: “It's an exciting squad now. It's full of youngsters - me, Danny Welbeck, Phil Jones, Rodwell - the list goes on.

“We're all in the manager's thoughts and I hope we're there in the summer.”

He added: “I just want to go out there and play football — what I enjoy doing. The rest can take care of itself. I need to keep playing club football and hopefully keep performing at club football and then we'll look towards the summer.”

England coach Fabio Capello was clearly impressed by the youngsters who featured against Sweden and may now have a welcome selection headache before he names his squad to travel to Poland and Ukraine.

The Italian said: “It's important to beat Sweden after 43 years but it was more important to see Jones, Rodwell and Walker play against a team which is really organised and difficult to play against. The answer that I received from the performance is really important for me. And these three players played really well.

“During these games I'm looking for something new, and I found it. I found three really interesting players.”

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