Following the announcement that Kyle Walker had groin surgery, the England full-back now faces a stressful wait to learn if he will be ready for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
England manager Gareth Southgate has other choices at right-back and center-back, but if healthy, Manchester City’s Walker would almost surely be on the plane to Qatar next month.
Walker is having a nervous wait
City’s 6-3 thrashing of Manchester United on Sunday came at a cost, as Walker was injured in the first half at the Etihad Stadium.
The former Tottenham defender was taken off just before halftime, and it was quickly determined that the groin injury would necessitate surgery.
Walker has now undergone surgery to remedy the issue, and on Thursday, he shared a post-surgical photo on social media.
There is still no timetable for Walker’s recovery, but with England manager Southgate ready to reveal his 26-man team for the World Cup on October 20th, there are concerns over the City star’s fitness for the major tournament.
England face Iran in their opening World Cup game on November 21st at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, with the Three Lions priced at 2/7 to win the tournament.
Walker, 32, has been known to play at centre-back on occasion, although he is best recognized for his ability at right-back.
While Southgate will not want to be without Walker for the tournament, there are other options if Walker is unable to compete in Qatar.
James is vying for a starting spot
Reece James, a Chelsea standout, is one right-back who is on a roll this season.
The 22-year-old has established himself as a crucial player in the Blues lineup and appears to be playing an even more important role at Stamford Bridge under new manager Graham Potter.
James scored in Chelsea’s 3-0 win over AC Milan on Wednesday night and was a standout performer for the hosts in west London.
The former Wigan Athletic loanee, who is 1/8 to make England’s final World Cup squad, is now expected to be the starting right-back against Iran.
There are still concerns about Alexander-defense. Arnold’s
Trent Alexander-Arnold, a player who has received a lot of criticism for his play this year, has seen his worth sink ahead of the World Cup, which England is 7/1 to win.
Alexander-Arnold, who is 4/7 to make the final roster, was previously a regular starter for his country, but his status in the national team is now in doubt.
While he has exceptional offensive skill, there are still concerns about his defensive abilities as Liverpool continues to struggle in the Premier League.
Scoring the opening goal in Liverpool’s 2-0 Champions League win against Rangers would have helped Alexander-Arnold respond to his critics, but he will need consistency in his defending before the World Cup.
Trippier with experience in big game
Kieran Trippier, who helped England reach the World Cup semi-finals in 2018, is also a candidate for the Three Lions’ right-back position.
Trippier, who is 1/8 to make the squad, is anticipated to be part of Southgate’s plans for the tournament.
Trippier, who is solid in defense and has exceptional set-piece quality, shown at the 2018 World Cup in Russia that he can impact games with his deliveries and in dead ball situations.
Trippier has enjoyed a strong start to the Premier League season with Newcastle, who are currently sixth in the table after eight games.
The former Tottenham Hotspur defender is back in the Premier League after a stint in La Liga with Atletico Madrid.
If Walker does not make the trip, it appears that Trippier, James, and Alexander-Arnold will compete for the starting right-back spot.
Losing Walker would be a big setback for Southgate, as he would be without one of his most experienced players.
Among the current Three Lions squad, only Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane have played more times for their country than Walker, who has represented England on 70 occasions.
The Manchester City medical team will do all possible to get Walker back to full pace as soon as as, as he faces what could be his final chance to win a World Cup.