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Kyle Walker says it’s ‘unfair’ and ‘wrong’ to suggest that England boss Gareth Southgate isn’t getting the best out of the likes of Tottenham Hotspur playmaker, James Maddison.

In their Euro 2024 qualifying match on Saturday, England and Ukraine drew 1-1. Tottenham’s summer acquisition started on the left of a front three rather than in his regular midfield position.

Many criticisms of Southgate were leveled at him following the Three Lions’ dismal performance against Ukraine, especially the way he utilized players like James Maddison.

Kyle Walker, a right-back for Manchester City, was unfazed and asserted to talkSPORT that the club have “enough creative talent” to harm the opposition, aside from the manager.

Along with Maddison, Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham all made their debuts. But the inclusion of Jordan Henderson in the starting XI infuriated supporters.

Henderson, despite switching to a supposedly lower league this summer, not only began in place of a Phil Foden and instead of a Maddison in the middle of the park, but he also played the entire game as Walker responded to the criticism.

Gareth Southgate and Maddison

“I think it’s a bit unfair, if I am being completely honest,” said Walker. “I feel when players (such as Maddison) play at their club, they have week in and week out. Year in and year out training to adapt to it.

“Gareth has a certain amount of days where some people are playing on a Sunday and some on a Saturday. Some are carrying injuries and they can’t really train as much as they want to. It’s not as easy as people think.

“Okay, we have a fantastic group of players. But you have to understand what he has to work with and the amount of time he has to work with, so we have enough creative players on the field James Maddison, Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham. He has been on fire at Real Madrid. And Hendo (Jordan Henderson).

“There is enough creative talent to hurt teams. I feel that the criticism is a bit wrong, in that respect.”


That’s the midfield that ought to have faced Ukraine first, or, if Maddison wasn’t available, Phil Foden.

It would be intriguing to watch what kind of side Southgate fields against Scotland on Tuesday since the midfield he currently uses is far too safe.

On paper, it appears to be a friendly match, but the impending battle makes it unlikely.

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One Comment

  1. Walker I’m sure the next England manager will pick you with out brown nosing Southgate who only got the job as a nodding dog

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