Walker savours Jagielka experience
Kyle Walker has said Phil Jagielka is one of his heroes as the Tottenham full-back prepares for his first competitive appearance for England.
Right-back Walker could line up alongside central defender Jagielka in Friday's World Cup qualifier with minnows San Marino at Wembley. Walker was a youth-team player with Sheffield United when he used to watch Jagielka in action for the club, who he would eventually play for himself at senior level. But only now has Walker, who is set to replace the suspended Glen Johnson, revealed his admiration for the Everton player. He said:
"Phil Jagielka was a hero of mine. I didn't have a poster of him in my room or anything like that. I wasn't that bad.
"But I've never told him. I hope his head doesn't grow too big but just to eat dinner with him is an honour for me.
"Sometimes he tries to go and get me some soup. Instinctively I say: 'You can't be getting me that. Let me get you some soup'!"
Walker has made rapid strides during the past 12 months since returning from a successful loan spell at Aston Villa. He was voted the PFA young player of the year in April and signed a new five-year deal with Tottenham. But he knows he has still much to learn and is keen to emulate the achievements of the player who could be on the opposite flank against San Marino, Ashley Cole. The Chelsea man will win his 100th cap in Poland on Tuesday, providing he is first selected against San Marino. Walker said:
"Everything he's achieved in the game is what I want to achieve because Ashley has been ridiculously good - and the stats show it.
"He wouldn't get 100 caps if he wasn't doing something right. "I try to be like a sponge with him, absorb everything he's done and bring it into my game."
Walker admits he is realising his dream by playing for his country for whom he made his debut as a substitute against Spain 11 months ago. He said:
"I'm 22 and since the age of seven playing for England is all I've wanted to do.
"I won't be treating this game any differently to Manchester United or Real Madrid. It doesn't matter to me.
"It's a new experience. But everyone wants to do well when they play against England and seems to turn it up that extra five or 10%."
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