England v Scotland
Under-21 International Match
Tuesday 13 August 2013
Bramall Lane, Sheffield United FC
Tickets: £10 adults, £5 children, click here to buy online
(Group tickets also available)
By Nicholas Veevers
Kyle Walker admits he will be watching closely as England Under-21s face Scotland at his beloved Bramall Lane.
The Spurs defender started his career at Sheffield United before moving to White Hart Lane and also had his first international experiences there with England U19s and Under-21s.
And he knows that the Three Lions, managed by Roy Hodgson for this game, will be given a warm welcome in South Yorkshire as they take on the ‘Auld Enemy’ just 24 hours before the senior teams meet at Wembley.
Walker, who hopes to be included in Hodgson's senior squad for that game, said: “I try and go back as often as possible, it’s my home town and it’s where I grew up playing football since I was six.
“My granddad used to take me to Bramall Lane and I always supported them.
“My whole family is from there, my girlfriend is from Sheffield too so we try and go as often as possible.
“And there can be a great atmosphere for games, so I’m sure there will be a big and noisy crowd for that match.”
It is the first return to Bramall Lane for the Under-21s since 2008 when they beat Czech Republic by 2-0, a game which Walker remembers as his ex-United, and now Spurs, team-mate Kyle Naughton was involved.
He said: “I can remember going to watch the Under-21s there when Kyle Naughton made his debut.
“And luckily enough I managed to follow him into the Under-21 team but I never got the chance to play at Bramall Lane.
“I was close as England U19s played Scotland there in a qualifier soon after but I missed that game as we were in the play-offs with Sheffield United.
“So the first time I went back was to actually play against Sheffield United for Aston Villa.
“I popped up and scored against them with my first ever goal too.
“Football throws up things that you just don’t expect, but it’s a club that I love and I will always remember everything that they have done for me.
“I didn’t play for England U16s or U17s but I got my chance when I was playing full-back for the U19s, then the Under-21s and now the seniors.
“So I just have to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped me over the years at Sheffield United, Tottenham and even Aston Villa and QPR.
“They have all given me the chance to play club football, when I could prove to myself and the England coaches that I could play on the international stage.”
The 23-year-old still speaks highly of his international education with the England development teams.
He was one of the best players at the Euro Finals of 2009 as England reached the final only to lose against host nation Ukraine.
And he was just as impressive for the Under-21s two years later when they reached the Euro finals in Denmark.
Walker said: “It’s vital experience for younger players.
“I went to Ukraine with the U19s for the Euro Finals in 2009, and just to play tournament football and be away from home for a longer period of time was just a massive learning curve for me.
“It makes you grow up a lot quicker too.”
Current club: Tottenham HotspurKyle joined Yorkshire club Sheffield United as an eight-year-old and progressed through the ranks until joining Tottenham Hotspur in July 2009.
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