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Huge tie for Kyle

Posted on 21 January 2015  - 12:30

Sheffield-born, a boyhood Blades fan and former player - it's safe to say matches don't come much bigger for Kyle Walker than our Capital One Cup semi-final against Sheffield United.

Kyle in action against SunderlandKyle during his time at Sheffield United - the Championship play-off at Wembley, May 2009

The flying full-back watched from the terraces at Bramall Lane and was at the club from the age of 6-18 before joining us in the summer of 2009.

Now 24 and with 141 appearances for us under his belt, those early days might feel along way away now for the England international, but the memories were brought flooding back by our semi-final draw having despatched Newcastle in the quarter-finals.

"They were fantastic days for me," said Kyle. "I grew up a stone’s throw away from Bramall Lane and always wanted to play for Sheffield United. I worked hard and got my breakthrough with Kevin Blackwell.

"I can remember the club was handing Academy contracts out left, right and centre to my age group, 14 in total and I was the 14th, the last one. I have to give a big thanks to the club for putting their trust in me. I owe a lot to them."

Needless to say, the Walker family will be well represented at the Lane for tonight's first leg.

"The phone hasn’t stopped ringing! The family all support Sheffield United so it will be mixed emotions. They will want me to do well personally and to get to the final as well. It’s a win-win situation for them really!"

As for the tie itself, Kyle is well aware of the need to put ourselves in a good position ahead of next Wednesday's (January 28) second leg at Bramall Lane.

The players are also well aware of the Blades' outstanding recent cup form - they beat Southampton to reach the last four and then dumped QPR out of the FA Cup at Loftus Road.

"It’s vital for us to get a good lead, play the football we’ve been playing, take the game to them to try and make it as easy as possible in the second leg," added Kyle.

"We won’t underestimate them. They are a good team and they work hard. I know Chris Morgan (player during Kyle's time, now Under-21 coach) and he’ll have the players right up for it, especially coming down to Tottenham because they won’t often have the chance to play at White Hart Lane. We need to match the desire and hunger they have showed to get this far."