EPL

Guardiola: Walker cannot play in Man City system

By Sports Desk April 08, 2023

Kyle Walker's future at Manchester City could be in doubt after Pep Guardiola said he "cannot" play the way he wants his full-backs to play.

The 32-year-old has only started two of City's past seven games, with John Stones preferred at right-back.

Guardiola favours a system that sees his full-backs inverted, often coming inside to join the midfield as Stones did to good effect in last week's win over Liverpool.

Speaking ahead of City's Premier League trip to Southampton, the Catalan coach did not sugarcoat the reason why he has left Walker out in recent games.

"[Walker] cannot do it. To play inside, you have to make some educated movements," Guardiola said.

"He has other characteristics. He will always have pace. He will be the fastest in this room at 60 years old."

The City manager added: "The reason why is tactical. It's not because we lost faith in Kyle.

"He can play coming inside, and he has done it many times, but like in the position [against] Liverpool with Rodri and John, he will maybe need time to do it, and we don't have time."

While City have never shied away from moving on players who Guardiola feels no longer suit his team, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss did offer Walker the chance to adapt to try to force his way back into contention.

"What they have to do is two things," he said. "Don't complain or there will be a problem. And try to do it better and better, so when I need them, they will be ready.

"Look at Nathan [Ake] this season. Last season, he didn't play one minute, and now he is undroppable. It happens.

"Nobody has a guarantee with me. They have to earn it, and sometimes we need a different shape for the way we build up or defend. Some players adapt better than the other ones.

"They take it personally, but we are not against them. We just need something and try to use it."

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