Walking tall, now

It has been a rapid rise for Walker, who looks destined to be a key player for club and country for years to come and Northampton must seem a million miles away for the Spurs starlet. By Pete Thompson.

When Kyle Walker was loaned out to Northampton he could surely not have dreamed of being named in the England squad less than three years later. But the right-back has experienced a meteoric rise since returning to Sheffield United after a short spell in League One with Northampton.

After breaking into the Blades first team right at the end of the 2008/09 campaign, Walker was signed by Tottenham despite making just two league appearances for the Yorkshire club. As part of the deal to take him to White Hart Lane, the pacy defender was loaned back to United the following season but he was recalled by Spurs in February.

He was off on loan once again at the start of last season, QPR the destination on this occasion, and after an impressive spell with Neil Warnock's side he was loaned out to Aston Villa in January. Walker spent the rest of the season with Villa and was drafted into the England squad during his time at Villa Park.

But at the start of this season Spurs boss Harry Redknapp insisted Walker was going nowhere and the 21-year-old has taken his chance to establish himself at White Hart Lane.

The Sheffield-born Walker joined the Blades aged just seven and worked his way through the youth set-up at the Championship club, who converted him from being a striker into a defender when he was 16.

As part of his footballing education, he was loaned out to Northampton in November 2008 in an initial one-month deal and made his debut in a defeat against Oldham. The Cobblers extended his stay until January and he returned to South Yorkshire having made nine appearances for Town.

His United debut followed soon after in an FA Cup tie against Leyton Orient, but it was not until the final two games of the season that he featured in the Championship. The Blades were pushing for promotion and turned to Walker for their clash with Swansea and he kept his place for the play-off semi-finals against Preston. United progressed to the final and Walker became the youngest player to play for the club at Wembley, but they were beaten by Burnley.

Walker's performances alerted Tottenham and the London club made a double raid on United to sign Walker and Kyle Naughton. In a whirlwind few months, Walker started the following season back at Bramall Lane on loan and enhanced his reputation with some impressive displays for his hometown club.

But he was on his way back to the capital at the start of February after being recalled by Redknapp and the youngster made his Spurs debut against Portsmouth at the end of March. Redknapp was not convinced Walker was ready to be his first-choice right-back so at the start of last season he was loaned to QPR. His initial one-month deal was extended until January as Rangers stormed to the top of the Championship and a move to Villa followed in January.

Walker scored just nine minutes into his Villa debut, ironically against Sheffield United in the FA Cup, and was called up to the England squad in February. The marauding right-back made the most of his opportunity at Villa and looked very much at home in the EPL. He returned to Tottenham at the end of the season and although Villa were keen to re-sign him, Spurs had no intention of selling and gave the youngster a new five-year deal.

Walker appeared in the European Under-21 Championships in the summer and despite a disappointing showing from England, the defender shone and was named in the team of the tournament.

Spurs did allow another full-back to join Villa, but this time it was Alan Hutton moving to the midlands and Walker got the nod to start the season at right-back. The Yorkshireman has taken his opportunity and endeared himself to the Spurs faithful further with the winning goal against north London rivals Arsenal at Tottenham in the EPL.

It has been a rapid rise for Walker, who looks destined to be a key player for club and country for years to come and Northampton must seem a million miles away for the Spurs starlet.

He was selected in the England squad to face Holland in August this year only for the game to be postponed due to the London riots.

Walker is not married and keeps his private life to himself.

FACTFILE Name: Kyle Walker Position: Defender DOB: 28/05/1990 England Caps: None England Goals: None Moment to Remember

Being labelled ‘the new Roberto Carlos' in the Spanish media after his performance for England Under-21s against Spain in the European Under-21 Championships.

Moment to Forget

Sheffield United's defeat in the Championship play-off final against Burnley in May 2009.

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