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Key Battle: Luke Young on Walker, Rose and Antonio

Posted on 18 November 2016  - 16:03

We caught up with our versatile former full-back Luke Young this week to discuss the talents of Kyle Walker and how he and Danny Rose could have their hands full with West Ham wide man Michail Antonio in the ‘key battle’ at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

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Luke Young

76 appearances for us between 1998 and 2001
Made his Spurs debut away at West Ham in November, 1998
League Cup winner with us in 1999
Seven senior England caps
Later played for Charlton Athletic, Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Queens Park Rangers
Left QPR in 2014

On Kyle Walker’s development under Mauricio Pochettino

Luke Young: “He (Mauricio) has come in and got everyone playing really well. Obviously the players all buy into what the manager wants and you would think Spurs are going to be there or there abouts at the top of the table again this season. Kyle’s benefitting from playing week in, week out and now he’s the established number one right-back for England.”

On Kyle’s performances for the Three Lions

Luke: “Going into the Euros this summer, I was hoping he would start. I do like Nathaniel Clyne, he’s a solid full-back but I think Kyle adds a little bit more to the England side going forward so I was pleased when he got the nod. I think he played really well in a couple of the friendly games leading up to the tournament which probably got him the shirt. It was touch-and-go who would start until his performances were so good in those games.”

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On the threats posed by West Ham’s Michail Antonio

Luke: “He is a winger but he’s been used at full-back as well sometimes. I don’t think he’s a natural full-back but I think he’s been stuck there through his energy and because of the way teams like to play with wing-backs flying forward. You might find that he’ll be on the wing on Saturday though. It’s a good story with him – he’s worked himself up from non-league all the way up to play for West Ham and then got in the England squad. He’s always looking to peel off on the back post, away from whatever full-back he’s coming up against. He’s deadly in the air and I think Spurs will have to watch that at the weekend because he scores quite a few goals through arriving late into the box.”

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‘Rose will have his hands full’

Luke: “If Danny Rose is playing left-back down that side, he’ll have to keep his shoulders open because, as I mentioned, Antonio is always looking to peel off to the back post and he scores quite a few headers from that area. On the back post he’s a real danger.”

Luke on his Spurs debut against the Hammers in 1998

Luke: “It was a 2-1 defeat unfortunately. I hit the crossbar in the last minute – I actually went up for a corner, it came out on the edge of the box and I rattled the bar. I think Shaka Hislop got the faintest of touches on it and pushed it onto the woodwork, which was a bit frustrating. I have fond memories of my debut but obviously the result didn’t go too well!”

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Above: Luke Young in action for us against Manchester United in 1998.

Competition between Luke and Stephen Carr at full-back in late 1990s, early 2000s

Luke: “Stephen Carr at the time was probably one of the best, if not the best right-back in the league and that’s where I wanted to play. I didn’t really see a way through for me so I thought I was going to have to go out somewhere else to get a game there, otherwise I was going to be playing left wing-back or centre-half all the time. I just couldn’t get a game at right-back because of how good Stephen Carr was and it seems like it’s taken quite a long time to really replace him. They’ve got that man in Kyle Walker now. It’s quite hard to say that because some boys have obviously come into that position and played really well down the years but Kyle reminds me the most of Stephen Carr now with the way he flies up and down that flank. He’s got a great shot on him as well – as we saw against West Ham last year when he scored – and hopefully he can score a few more goals.”

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Luke Young goes into detail on the talents of Kyle Walker as part of the latest ‘Centre of Attention’ feature in our official matchday programme this weekend. Sample it for free now with our 12-page online preview edition and be sure to pick up your copy at the game on Saturday – it’s £3.50 for 100 pages as usual.