MX23RW : Saturday, June 12 20:57:26| >> :120:16639:16639:

Pep Guardiola backs Kyle Walker after missing out on England squad

Walker was left out of Gareth Southgate's England squad on Thursday.

Kyle Walker may have missed out on England selection this week but can expect to start for Manchester City against Brighton on Saturday after Pep Guardiola gave the defender his full backing.

Gareth Southgate has favoured youth for England's upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo, selecting Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Trent Alexander-Arnold instead, but Guardiola has no concerns that Walker will be affected by the decision.

Guardiola admitted he was "a little bit" surprised by the decision, but added: "I'm not involved. We respect the decision. I think Kyle is coming back and is stronger.

"But the decision, of course I understand it and we support the manager of the national team, Gareth, and of course Kyle.

"I'm sure the players want to go to the national team and play but this happens, so you adapt."

Walker also faces added competition at club level following the signing of Joao Cancelo, who made his debut as a substitute last week, but Guardiola hinted he remains first-choice for now with the Portuguese still settling in.

"There are many things Kyle knows completely and Joao is starting to understand what to do," he said.

While Walker was disappointed, fellow City defender Aymeric Laporte got better news with a long-awaited France call-up – his first since March 2017 – and a chance for the 25-year-old to win his first senior cap.

"For me he is the best left-sided centre-back," Guardiola said. "You cannot find another guy who can create, be defensive and offensive, the mentality of how he is.

"I am incredibly grateful to Didier Deschamps and so happy for him because he deserves it."

City were handed a favourable-looking Champions League draw on Thursday, grouped with Shakhtar Donetsk, Dinamo Zagreb and Atalanta to strengthen their status as one of the competition's favourites.

Guardiola won the competition twice with Barcelona but could not bring the trophy to Bayern Munich in his three-year tenure.

It remains the missing piece in City's trophy cabinet, but Guardiola downplayed any pressure to win it.

"It's important, I know it's important and if it happens, it will be important," he said.

"But (if not) I will be the same guy, I'll wake up in the morning, work a lot, go to sleep as early as possible, eat good, take care of myself as best as possible and love the people I love.

Guardiola has only won the Champions League with Barcelona
Guardiola has only won the Champions League with Barcelona (Sean Dempsey/PA)

"I'm going to do my best but it's not going to change my life."

And the City boss had little interest in dissecting his team's Group C rivals.

"I'm not going to be distracted today talking about the Champions League when my focus is just on Brighton," he said.

Gabriel Jesus was expected to be out until after the international break with a hamstring problem but Guardiola said both he and John Stones are "much better" and he did not rule out them being involved in Saturday's match.

Gabriel Jesus could return quicker than expected for City
Gabriel Jesus could return quicker than expected for City (Adam Davy/PA)

"They are much better. I don't know if they will be able to play tomorrow but they are much better," he said.

"If they are not ready for tomorrow, they will be ready for the Norwich game after the break."

Guardiola began his press conference by sending his condolences to former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique following the death of his nine-year-old daughter Xana, who had been battling bone cancer.

Luis Enrique, left, Guardiola were Barcelona and Spain team-mates in their playing careers
Luis Enrique, left, Guardiola were Barcelona and Spain team-mates in their playing careers (Nick Potts/PA)

"We knew it was not good, but always you dream everything is going well," Guardiola said. "I don't have words, there is absolutely nothing to say.

"Always you try to find reasons why, but there is no argument for a little girl, only nine years old.

"From Manchester City and my family, we are here, and hopefully soon I can see him and tell him how I love him and his family."

ID:369811: cacheID:369811:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:restore:11572:
Restore Data
Share this article now:
Did you know...?
Pep Guardiola pictured during Manchester City's Premier League clash with West Ham on August 10, 2019
Read Next:
Brighton boss Graham Potter talks up Pep Guardiola "influence" on PL
>

rhs 2.0
Euro 2020 Groups header
ABCDEF
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1 Italy Italy11003033
2 Switzerland Switzerland10101101
3 Wales flag Wales10101101
4 Turkey Turkey100103-30
Euro 2020 fixtures
Sunday, June 13, 2021
 
2pm
Monday, June 14, 2021
 
5pm
 
8pm
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
 
8pm
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
 
2pm
 
5pm
Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38275683325186
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd382111673442974
3Liverpool38209968422669
4Chelsea381910958362267
5Leicester CityLeicester382061268501866
6West Ham UnitedWest Ham381981162471565
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs381881268452362
8Arsenal381871355391661
9Leeds UnitedLeeds38185156254859
10Everton38178134748-159
11Aston Villa38167155546955
12Newcastle UnitedNewcastle38129174662-1645
13Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38129173652-1645
14Crystal Palace38128184166-2544
15Southampton38127194768-2143
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton38914154046-641
17Burnley38109193355-2239
RFulham38513202753-2628
RWest Bromwich AlbionWest Brom38511223576-4126
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd3872292063-4323

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!