Walker-Peters: ‘I could have cried’
Tue 13 August 2019, 10:10|Tottenham Hotspur
The relief was palpable, the noise deafening. Euphoria reverberated around our new home on Saturday evening as Harry Kane wheeled away after firing us in front late on against Aston Villa.
Having been frustrated for over an hour by a dogged and resilient Villa outfit, we had finally found the lead. But, as the stadium erupted, Kyle Walker-Peters slumped to the turf in a heap.
It was an emotional moment for the 22-year-old. We had eventually overcome Dean Smith’s side after they had put up such a strong defence throughout the game - much like how Kyle has battled on in his career, progressing from the youth system to challenge for a place in our first-team.
Having grown up in the shadows of White Hart Lane, this club means a lot to the defender - emotion that was clear to see in the moments that followed Harry’s 86th-minute goal.
“I was just thinking about how much I love Harry (Kane)!” the full-back smiled, recalling his reaction to our number 10's first goal at our new stadium - his second wrapped up the 3-1 win soon after.
“Honestly, I could have cried on the pitch. It was that sort of emotion as the goal went in.
“When that goal goes in, you just think about everything you have been through to get here; everything I have been through on my journey to getting into the first-team and finally getting more and more opportunities as the gaffer is showing that trust in me.
“And, growing up in Tottenham, I just love the Club, so those moments mean just that little bit extra. You can’t control these emotions, it just happens. Everything just builds up in you - especially in that game.
“In terms of my career, that match was very important to me. I have to prove to the staff here and prove to the fans that I am ready to play in important games, help the team and hopefully be a part of a successful season.”
Frustrations had built-up throughout the game. Having started off brightly against newly-promoted Villa, we were down within nine minutes as John McGinn struck on the break.
Our opposition then sat in, thwarting our every advance. Villa laid their bodies on the line to defend their lead, and even if we did breach their defence, goalkeeper Tom Heaton was producing the spectacular between the sticks with his sprawling reflexes.
But, on 73 minutes, when Tanguy Ndombele strode up and beautifully caressed the ball into the corner of Heaton’s net from distance for 1-1, the atmosphere transformed.
“It is the mental switch in those moments,” our number 16 admitted. “We were knocking on the door and you start getting frustrated, but we just kept going.
“Of course, it was a tough game going down 1-0 as early as we did but with the help of the crowd and with the quality we have in our side, we managed to overcome the obstacle.
“To finally get that equaliser, it takes a lot of pressure off and you almost feel then like the second one is coming - and that winner came very quickly.”