Tottenham right-back is aiming to stay the course this season after suffering injury heartbreak at the end of last season
It is just as well that Kyle Walker draws strength from the setbacks. The Tottenham Hotspur right-back endured a tumultuous finale to last season, when it might have felt as if the preceding eight months of achievement had seen the shine dulled from them.
The PFA's young player of the year broke the little toe of his left foot in the third last match at Bolton Wanderers, yet he gritted his teeth and played on.
The injury would worsen in the final game of his breakthrough campaign – against Fulham – and, rather abruptly, he was taking a phone-call from Roy Hodgson and hearing that he would not be included in the England squad for Euro 2012.
Walker had an x-ray on the toe two weeks ago and the bone was still broken. There will be no problem for the start of next season, he says, but the chance to compete with Team GB at the London Olympics had also gone.
On top of the international blows was the cruel cut when Chelsea's Champions League triumph deprived fourth-placed Tottenham of a spot in next season's competition and then Harry Redknapp, the manager who had bought him from Sheffield United and given him his Tottenham debut, was sacked. "It was mixed feelings for me," Walker said. "We were 13 points clear of Arsenal [in third in late February] and I thought we should have been third. You have to get on with it, deal with it and put it right this year."
Walker is known for his level head as much as for his surging runs and the capacity to strike spectacularly; his goals against Arsenal and Blackburn Rovers were highlight-reel material last term. But he cannot suppress the excitement he feels ahead of next season.
Everything is smart and new, from the manager, André Villas-Boas, to the training ground at Bulls Cross and the first-team kit from Under Armour. Walker is now itching to help put Tottenham back at Europe's top table.
"The new season is a fresh start and we want to finish where we should be finishing and that's a Champions League position," Walker said. "That's got to be the minimum requirement for Tottenham. When I signed [in 2009], that's what the club was searching for. They got it and they won't settle for anything less now.
"I won the PFA young player [2012 award] but that's driving me to show that I can win it again this season. I'm very hard on myself and I don't settle for second best. I want to be the best player I can be and if that means staying behind and doing extra training, I'm prepared to do that. I want to win things and so do the rest of the players. We're hungry for it."
It is not unusual to hear a player talk up a new manager but Walker can have high hopes of Villas-Boas, who likes his full-backs to get forward. The Portuguese's double training sessions so far have been meticulously structured, with an emphasis on ball work.
"As an attacking full-back, I'm excited to work with him," Walker said. "He's going to give another dimension to my game. We've seen in training that you have to be on it 24:7. That's what the team needs to go further. If he does play 4-3-3, it will benefit me, showing what I can do further up the field and letting the winger worry about me.
"We're a totally different team to Chelsea [Villas-Boas's last club] and you don't judge someone by previous things that have happened. We need to take him in. It's a good bunch of lads here. There's no egos, nobody who is going to disturb the camp. He's going to give us a chance; we're going to give him a chance. Hopefully we'll gel and win trophies."
Walker has fond memories from last season, not least off the field, when his son Roman was born 24 hours after his man-of-the-match display against Sweden on his full England debut.
His winner against Arsenal also sent his Twitter feed into meltdown. Walker and Tottenham intend to stay the course this time out.
انسخ الكود التالى و ضعه فى موقعك او مدونتك.