Updated: Saturday, 25th January 2020 @ 8:25am

Achieving Manchester United hero Gary Neville's success would be dream come true for Kyle Walker

Achieving Manchester United hero Gary Neville's success would be dream come true for Kyle Walker

By Dean Wilkins

Achieving the success that Manchester United hero Gary Neville achieved with club and country would be a dream come true for young protégé Kyle Walker.

The 22-year-old fullback – who scooped PFA Young Player of the Year in April – is currently training with his England teammates at the FA’s new £105million St George’s Park.

And as the Tottenham ace prepares to replace Glen Johnson as rightback, he is hailing the work he and England coach Neville are doing and hopes the ex-United ace can influence him positively.

"I'm young, I want to improve, I want to become the best I can be and Gary Neville is really helping me with that aim,” he said.

"He’s a player that I looked up to and watched often. He had a fantastic career and he gives me tips and coaches me through things. I'm excited to be working with him.

"I've always liked to go forward but he has helped massively in terms of myself improving defensively. I just want to keep on learning.”

Neville’s unforgettable link up play with David Beckham for the Reds and Three Lions was the foundation for attacking fullbacks, and Walker hopes he can emulate his success at both ends of the pitch.

"My defending is improving every time, every week,” he added. “I think it is just about experience and learning off people like Gary plus the likes of Joleon Lescott, Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill.

"The decision-making has to be key. There is club level but then you step up to international level and have to be even more precise."

Walker was forced to sit on the sidelines through injury as Roy Hodgson’s men travelled to Poland and Ukraine for Euro 2012.

And the stress of watching his opportunity go by is being used to spur on his performance, insists the former Aston Villa man.

"It is a fantastic opportunity for me to get into the team,” he added. “I've been patient and waited for that.

"Hopefully on Friday [against San Marino] I can show everyone what I can do and have a good game.

"A first competitive start is what I've been waiting for, for a long time now. For my entire career, since I was seven, I've wanted to play for England, and put that jersey on.

"It's been a very up and down year for me. I won the young player of the year at club level so it's been good in that sense.

"At the end of the season it was a disappointment, having worked so hard to get into the England team, to have that little niggle on my toe.

"But it was fantastic the manager gave me the phone call, saying it was sad he couldn't take me there but saying I was in his plans and he had belief in me."

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