Spurs right-back admits players’ admiration for manager
Kyle Walker admitted his delight that boss Mauricio Pochettino has agreed a new two-year deal at Tottenham, when the news was announced while he was talking to the press.
The right-back was speaking ahead of Monday night’s fixture against bitter rivals Chelsea, when the news that Pochettino had verbally agreed a new two-year contract, that will keep him at the club until 2021.
Fans had become concerned that, after their successful season that sees them with an outside chance of winning the Premier League and all-but qualifying for the Champions League, Pochettino would be snapped up by one of Europe’s top clubs.
Manchester United, Chelsea and Paris-Saint Germain had all been linked with the Argentine over the course of the season, and Walker admits it’s great news for the north London club.
“I’ve been waiting for someone to say that for ages now! He’s said it? Thank goodness for that. I’m over the moon,” Walker said.
“It is a relief. There is always going to be speculation. It happens all the time.
“This player is going here, this manager is going there but I think that’s not for me to talk about or for any other player to talk about. We just need to conduct ourselves professionally.”
The news is welcome to likes of Harry Kane, Eric Dier, Danny Rose, Dele Alli and Walker, himself, as they have all featured regularly under the Spurs boss, in an era where young English players are lacking opportunities in the top flight.
Pochettino has unearthed Kane to potentially become one of England’s star strikers of the future, while helping Alli to become a big hit in his debut season in the Premier League.
“For me, he’s not just the manager on the pitch but it’s how he is off the pitch. That says everything for me,” Walker said.
“Some of the managers that have come in, you know…there’s young players here now and sometimes they do need an arm around them and to say, ‘you can do this’, sit them down, ‘look at the TV screen, you can do this better’, because we are still learning.
“We are probably not in our prime yet, most of us, so we are still learning and he is the man to take this club forward and onto new levels. It’s just everything about him, his aura as well. It’s just fantastic.”
Not giving up
And while Tottenham have all-but squandered their chances of securing their first league title since 1961, after drawing at home to West Brom last Monday, Walker is refusing to give up home on winning the battle for top spot.
“It’s a difficult one because it’s not over until the fat lady sings,” Walker said. “Man United are still chasing something, Everton are not going to want to lose.
“There is no professional footballer who steps onto a pitch and says ‘OK, we’re just going to chuck this one in.’ Everton, probably, have a point to prove, having not had the best of seasons.
“Chelsea likewise, the last game of the season at Stamford Bridge, they’ll want to put out a performance for their crowd, so hopefully, they’re not easy games [for Leicester]. But first and foremost, we need to go to Stamford Bridge and win, and we’ve got two tough games after that. So nothing is a given.”
Leicester need three points from their final three games, away to Manchester United, at home to Everton and away to Chelsea, on the final day of the season.
Tottenham will be hoping the Foxes slip up, and that they can take advantage on Monday night at Stamford Bridge, in a bid to win the title for Pochettino – a man that is adored by the players and the fans at White Hart Lane.