Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has thrown down the gauntlet for Kyle Walker-Peters and explained he’s got an opportunity to nail down his position.
The 22-year-old got the nod at right-back for the opening day win over Aston Villa, with teammate Serge Aurier on the bench and Juan Foyth also ruled out through suspension.
There is a big opportunity in the full-back area for someone to step up following Kieran Trippier’s move to Atletico Madrid this summer.
Spurs travel to Premier League reigning champions Manchester City on Saturday and it looks like Walker-Peters may be in line to retain his spot.
The Englishman had plenty of freedom to join in with attacks against Villa, but he’s going to be required defensively against the likes of Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne.
Pochettino has spoken in his pre-match press conference for Manchester City about Walker-Peters and believes it’s now up to him to seize a chance.
“The moment Trips (Kieran Trippier) flew to Madrid, it opened the door for different players to improve and step up. In the case of Kyle it is to try to be strong in his mentality and try and compete,” Pochettino said, as quoted by Football.London.
“Of course he was good against Aston Villa, but now it is going to be a massive challenge tomorrow [against Manchester City]. He is a player we trust in, he has the confidence and now he has to take the opportunity to be strong in the position.”
Pochettino has challenged Walker-Peters to rise to the occasion against Manchester City and he can defend against anyone if he plays well away to the English champions.
It’s still unclear on who the first-choice right-back is, but it’s great to see academy graduate Walker-Peters get his chance and he’s still a young talent developing his game.
The full-back is a real asset going forward with his dribbling and pace, but it’s still unknown on how he can defend against the elite and a lot will be found out about him at the weekend.