Kyle Walker playing his part in Tottenham’s upturn in fortunes

Kyle Walker

The England international has returned to the White Hart Lane team after injury, with the side taking maximum points when he has played.

Tottenham’s 5-3 victory over Chelsea on New Year’s Day continues a strong run of recent form for Mauricio Pochettino’s men, with reinvigorated belief that the North Londoners can challenge for a top-four berth this season.

Although attacking pair Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen have been gaining many of the plaudits, Kyle Walker’s reintroduction to the starting XI should not be overlooked.

The England international has been on the sidelines for the bulk of the campaign with a pelvis injury, but has returned to strengthen Pochettino’s options in defence recently.

The 24-year-old started against Chelsea in the most-recent victory, and interestingly all four games that Walker has played in this season Tottenham have won.

The former Sheffield United star featured in victories over Leicester, Burnley and Swansea also and is seemingly set to reclaim his place as Spurs’ first-choice right-back.

Walker will be determined to get back to his best having missed the World Cup with injury and his presence in the first-team seems like a more dependable option than deputy Kyle Naughton or deploying Vlad Chiriches or Eric Dier out of position.

Alongside the ever-improving centre-half pairing of Jan Vertonghen and Federico Fazio, there is surely hope amongst the White Hart Lane faithful that the team’s long-standing defensive frailties could be coming to an end.

Comparing his defensive statistics to Naughton, Chiriches and Dier in the four games he has played generates the following results.

  PositionGoals concededErrors leading to opp shotBlocked crossesWon tacklesEffective clearancesAppsMins played
Kyle Walker DF 1.5 0 0.25 2.5 2.25 4 360
Vlad Chiriches DF 1.17 0 1 1.83 1.67 6 475
Eric Dier DF 1.08 0.08 1.17 2.17 2.83 12 850
Kyle Naughton DF 0.8 0.2 0.6 2.2 2 5 326

The table above shows the defensive statistics per game so far of the four defenders, with Walker’s reintroduction noticeable.

The England man has made more successful tackles per game than the other three defenders and is second only to Dier in effective clearances per game.

In the four games he has played he is yet to make a mistake that has led to an opposition shot on Hugo Lloris’ goal also.

Walker is by no means the finished article and needs to continue to work on his defensive positional sense and discipline.

However, with his experience of playing consistently in the Premier League, unlike the other three, and his proficiency going forward, Walker’s return can only be good news for Tottenham’s top-four hopes.

Register for TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch