Kyle: "I've stopped looking at myself as a young player"
Thu 11 July 2019, 17:00|Tottenham Hotspur
Kyle Walker-Peters lived the dream last season. Now he’s back to reality - and what he sees as a ‘new chapter’ in his Spurs career.
Kyle grew up in the shadow of White Hart Lane. He used to play football with his mates in the streets around Tower Gardens, N17, dreaming of stepping out at the famous stadium around the corner.
The Academy graduate achieved that at youth levels as he climbed through the ranks at the Club, but not as a first team player.
That all changed as we ushered in a new era in April. Kyle was on the bench for the never-to-be-forgotten opening night of the new stadium against Palace on 3 April before starting against Huddersfield 10 days later. He was back in the line-up again against Everton on 12 May, helping the team grab the point required to finish in the top four.
“As a kid growing up in the area, my dream was to play for the first team at White Hart Lane but I didn’t get to do it,” reflected Kyle, now fully back into pre-season training at Hotspur Way. “So to then be part of the opening of the new stadium and then play against Everton, for me, that was incredible. This is the next generation and I want to play my part. It’s a new chapter.”
Now 22, Kyle featured 10 times for the first team across all four competitions in 2018/19. It was his second season fully integrated into the first team squad.
He added: “I’ve got to the stage where I’ve stopped looking at myself as a young player and now I’ve got to compete against friends in the dressing room and at the same time learn from them and take what they know and use it in my game.
“With the opportunities I’ve had so far, the manager has said ‘I do trust Kyle’ and I think I’ve done quite well. Now I need to kick on a bit more.”
That starts in pre-season. High-profile International Champions Cup matches against Juventus (21 July, Singapore) and Manchester United (25 July, Shanghai) on our Asia tour are just around the corner. The work has already started.
“Pre-season is the opportunity to show the gaffer what you can do and try and get yourself in his plans for the season," said Kyle. "That’s my aim.
“Every pre-season I’ve gone into I’ve had that in my mind, that I need to show the gaffer what I can do and that’s my target again, to show the manager, the coaching staff and even the other players that I’m ready to fight for my spot in the team.”