Friday, December 8, 2023
HomeSport NewsKyle Walker 'broke' England rule on first game as captain

Kyle Walker ‘broke’ England rule on first game as captain

Kyle Walker broke tradition on his first time captaining England, helping make Rico Lewis’ debut extra special.

It was proud moment for the Manchester City pair for different reasons as they both started the 1-1 draw with North Macedonia in Skopje on Monday night.

The point ensured England finished as group winners and one of the top seeds for the Euro 2024 draw.

With Harry Kane among the substitutes so that Ollie Watkins could get a start, Walker got the armband.

And Lewis slotted in at left-back as Southgate handed a second debut just days apart following Cole Palmer’s first bow against Malta.

Lewis was hard done by a harsh penalty decision after a VAR rule but otherwise impressed on the international stage.

His first appearance came a day before his 19th birthday and Walker made sure it was a little more memorable.

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

As England captain, Walker was responsible for the pennant flag which is typically swapped with the opposition prior to the game.

Normally the skipper would hold the item for the mandatory pre-match starting eleven photo as Kane typically does.

However, with Walker standing at the back next to Pickford, he let Lewis proudly hold the pennant.

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

It wasn’t the only souvenir the 19-year-old had his hands on though as he was voted England’s Player of the Match and received the award after the game.

At City, the versatile Lewis has emerged as an important player for Pep Guardiola, who believes only his height is stopping from him being considered one of the best players in the Premier League.

Gareth Southgate also rates him incredibly highly and showered him with praise after a strong debut.

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

“He had to defend as a left-back, which he did well, but we know the areas he likes to go in possession of the ball,” Southgate told BBC 5 Live.

“With the shape North Macedonia were playing, it allowed us to push him into those areas and got us those extra numbers up the field. He was excellent, his ability to receive in tight areas was a standout, his bravery with the ball but also the resilience to come back from a bit of a setback [conceding a first-half penalty] which was no fault of his own.

“He’s a unique player. Working out the specifics of a role and where that all fits is really interesting. His ability to keep possession and to do that well under pressure is a fabulous asset to have.”

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