Life is good for Ian Walker at the moment. In an exclusive interview he tells us why.
The Thursday Interview: His clean sheet against Blackburn on Sunday got promoted Leicester off the bottom of the table and he's also enjoying a renaissance to his England career. Life is good for Ian Walker at the moment... he tells TheFA.com why.
Having experienced everything that football has had to throw at him in the twelve years since he made his Spurs debut, Walker appreciates the good times.
"My career has been up and down for most of it," he reflects.
"There was a year at Tottenham when I basically didn't play. Then, when George Graham left and Glenn Hoddle came in, he told me it would be best that I moved so I could play every week.
"Leicester came in for me and I haven't really looked back."
Not that life at Leicester has been boring. Far from it. In his first two seasons at the club, Walker tasted the despair of relegation and the delight of promotion, all of which was played against the backdrop of an even greater drama off the pitch.
"We went down the first year, then the Club nearly went out of business and then we got promotion," he recalls. "It's been a bit hectic but I've enjoyed it!"
Now the man who, as a Liverpool-supporting boy used to impersonate Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush in the playground, is aiming for a more settled period in his Foxes career.
"Hopefully now we can steady the ship a bit," he says.
"The team hasn't picked up the points it should have done. I don't think we deserve to be where we are, but it's great to get off the bottom. Life in the Premiership is tough but we are improving."
One of the main reasons for that improvement is the man at the helm.
"Micky Adams is a good manager," states Walker. "We work hard on the training pitch and all the players respect him.
"He's been linked with so-called bigger clubs but he's stayed and that's good for us. I'm just glad he's at Leicester."
Adams has built a mainly homegrown team at Leicester and, for Walker, to see a young English coach building a team with an English core, makes a refreshing change.
"It's harder for English coaches to break through with all the foreign managers coming, but he (Adams) has done a good job everywhere he's gone," says the son of former Norwich and Everton boss, Mike Walker.
"I think it's the same when you look at the foreign players that came in as well. Take the goalkeeping situation: there's a lot of foreign goalkeepers in the Premier League and not too many English ones, so it makes it harder for the players to break through."
On the international scene, Walker has recently made his own breakthrough. After a spell out of the reckoning, his move to Leicester kick-started his England ambitions and he has been a regular fixture in Sven's squad since the summer.
"It's great to be part of it," he says, with last month's epic trip to Istanbul still fresh in his mind. "It's what you want to do when you're a youngster and it's no different now really.
"I've been a bit disappointed to have missed out on a few of the big tournaments. I haven't been involved in a World Cup and I missed the last European Championships but now I'm back in there and hopefully I can be part of the squad for Portugal and the World Cup after that."
Although Walker is generous in his praise of the current England number one, he makes no secret of his desire to add to his current tally of three international caps.
"David James is first choice at the moment and he's done well so I don't really see that changing for a little while," he admits. "All I can do is do my best for Leicester and if I do get an opportunity, then just try and do well and see how it goes from there. It's just good to be in the squad at the minute."
And the man who has played with Paul Gascoigne, Gary Lineker and Jurgen Klinsmann when they were at their peaks is now looking forward to the pinnacle of his own career.
"Mentally, I'm stronger now," he says. "I've had a few ups and downs in my career and I've learned how to take them and just get on with it. When you're younger it drives you mad and can knock you back quite a lot. It comes with experience.
"People say a goalkeeper's prime is between the ages of 29 and 33. I turned 32 last week so apparently I've got a year of my prime left. But I'm going to try and extend it to at least 35!"
Expect a few more twists and turns in the career of Ian Walker between now and then.
Ian Walker was talking to Hazel Ruscoe
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