Kyle Walker eyes Premier League title charge with Tottenham

 

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The Independent Online

Kyle Walker thinks Tottenham can challenge for the title next season, but acknowledges their chances of success will be reduced if they lose their top players like Luka Modric and Gareth Bale this summer.

Spurs kept pace with both Manchester sides for the first two thirds of last season, but a dramatic slump towards the end of the campaign meant they finished fourth in the Barclays Premier League.

To add further misery for the north London club, they were denied a place in the Champions League as rivals Chelsea, who finished sixth in the table, won the European Cup, meaning Spurs will be playing in the Europa League next term.

Bale, who starred in the Champions League for Spurs two years ago, said at the start of this month that he would consider his future if the Londoners failed to make it in to Europe's top club competition while Modric, hotly pursued by Chelsea last summer, will decide whether to leave after Euro 2012.

Walker, who has made the right-back spot his own, has high hopes for Spurs next season, although he admits they depend to a degree on keeping hold of Modric and Bale.

"I think it's vital (we keep them)," Walker told Press Association Sport at an event to promote Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Grudge Match against Manchester United's Tom Cleverley, where the players were going head-to-head on the all new frantic 'Face Off' levels from the Content Collection 2 maps for the game.

"The chairman showed last season that we are not a selling club.

"We can challenge next year for the title, definitely. We will be up there.

"We can achieve anything with the squad we have got. When I look around the changing room there's Gareth, Aaron Lennon, Rafa van der Vaart, Emmanuel Adebayor and even the likes of Louis Saha, Brad Friedel. There are world-class players there, experienced heads and they have helped me a lot this season.

"It's only upwards for Tottenham."

Tottenham looked certain qualifiers for the Champions League following an impressive 11-match unbeaten run towards the end of 2011 - a sequence Walker played a big part in putting together.

Ultimately, their efforts proved in vain, however, thanks to UEFA's rules that state only four teams from one country are allowed to compete in the Champions League.

Knowing some members of the Chelsea squad, Saturday was a night of mixed emotions for Walker, but he insists Tottenham must move on quickly from their unfortunate disappointment and not spend their time wondering what might have been.

"Obviously Saturday is football. That's what happens in the game," the 21-year-old said.

"I had mixed emotions as I know Ryan Bertrand, he was making his debut and Chelsea are an English team, but I want to test myself at the highest level so I favoured Bayern a little.

"It didn't work out as we would have liked but we just have to pick ourselves up now, dust ourselves down and challenge next year."

Last Saturday's outcome was a disappointing way to end a season full of success for Walker.

The youngster, signed from Sheffield United three years ago, was expected to play second fiddle to Vedran Corluka in the Spurs defence but he ousted the experienced Croatia right-back after a number of stunning displays early in the campaign.

The Yorkshireman won his first England cap against Spain in November, clinched the PFA Young Player of the Year award and also became a father for the first time.

He suffered heartbreak at the end of a draining 49-game campaign, however, when a broken toe ruled him out of England's Euro 2012 squad.

"It was difficult to take," the defender said.

"It could have been my fault. I had injections for the last three weeks of the season but I just wanted to play for Tottenham.

"I just wanted them to get in to the Champions League.

"But footballers have these setbacks in their careers and otherwise it's been like a dream for me this season, a perfect year."

Call of Duty(R): Modern Warfare 3 Content Collection 2 is out now on Xbox LIVE Marketplace for 1,200 Microsoft Points. The Collection is open to all; a premium Call of Duty(R) Elite membership is not required. The DLC pack will be available on other platforms at a later date.

PA

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