'He cannot do it' - Pep Guardiola explains 'tactical' reason why Kyle Walker hasn't been starting for Man City
- Walker out of favour at City
- Not suited to team's system
- Guardiola says decision is purely tactical
WHAT HAPPENED? Walker has lost his place in the Man City starting XI and Guardiola has revealed it's because the England international is not suited to the inverted full-back role, which requires moving into midfield when his side are in possession of the ball.
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WHAT THEY SAID: "He cannot do it. He will always have pace, he will be the fastest in this room at 60. To play inside you have to make some movements, he has other characteristics," he said. "He has played as a full-back coming inside with four in the back with Joao [Cancelo] or Alex [Zinchenko] in that position and Kyle has done it really well, but with this shape of three in the back and two in the middle he cannot do it."
AND WHAT'S MORE: Guardiola also insisted that his decision to leave Walker out is strictly tactical and not because he has lost faith in the 32-year-old.
"He can play coming inside and he has done it many times but like in the position of Liverpool with Rodri and John, he will maybe need time to do it and we don't have time. It's just a question of skills," he added.
"The quality sometimes you need some specific things, there are players that have his qualities. You would not ask Riyad [Mahrez] to play as a full-back because he cannot play as a full-back. The reason why is tactical. It's not because we lost faith in Kyle."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Guardiola's comments suggest Walker may have to get used to life on the bench for the time being. The City coach has used both John Stones and Rico Lewis in the role so far this season and both players now appear ahead of Walker in the pecking order.
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WHAT NEXT? City face Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday and follow that up with a visit from Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.