Kyle Walker is set to miss England’s World Cup opener against Iran
Kyle Walker has revealed that he is unlikely to take part in England’s opening Group B fixture at the 2022 World Cup against Iran next Monday.
The 32-year-old Manchester City right-back was a major doubt for the tournament in Qatar after undergoing groin surgery at the beginning of October.
However, manager Gareth Southgate has included Walker in his 26-man squad and the experienced defender has been pictured training with the first team at the Al Wakrah Sports Complex on Wednesday.
Shortly after confirming his final World Cup squad last week, Southgate stated that Walker would be “available before the end of the group stage”.
Walker – a 70-cap international – has since revealed that the Iran fixture may come too soon for him, and he is now targeting a return for England’s second Group B game against the USA.
“I think probably the first game is too short, but from then onwards I will be good and ready to go.
“It was an operation I had and it was touch and go, but that’s full credit to the physios here and also at Man City for getting me back fit and healthy.
“I was never worried. I always have to believe in myself. As soon as the professor said I needed the surgery, I was very confident that I made sure I prepared right, on and off the field, and did the right things correctly and moving forward I knew I would be alright.”Said Walker to ITV Football
Walker is not the only Three Lions star who has been troubled with an injury heading to Qatar, as his Man City teammate Kalvin Phillips has also faced his battle to recover in time for the group stage.
Phillips – who has missed the majority of the 2022-23 campaign due to a shoulder injury – was also seen training with Walker and the rest of the England squad, as was Leicester City’s James Maddison who has managed to shake off an injury scare of his own.
Maddison was forced off with a knee problem shortly after scoring in Leicester’s 2-0 Premier League win over West Ham United last weekend, but the playmaker is “hopeful” he can be available for selection next Monday.