Kyle Walker has admitted he still loves Sheffield United ahead of next month’s prestigious under-21 international between England and Scotland at Bramall Lane, writes James Shield.
And the Tottenham Hotspur defender, who moved to London after progressing through United’s youth system, revealed he will be rooting for his former club when the new League One campaign gets underway.
“I try and go back as often as possible,” Walker said. “It’s my home town and it’s where I grew up playing football since I was six.
“My granddad used to take me there and I always supported United.
“I went to watch them at Stevenage last season because it wasn’t too far from where I live now and I went to the Bramall Lane game with Yeovil in the play-offs this year because we had a few days off.
“There’s this thing about play-offs that Sheffield United don’t like as I know myself. Hopefully this season they go up and get back to where they should be.
“I try and get back often as my whole family is from up there and my girlfriend is from Sheffield too.”
Walker, a member of the United squad beaten in 2009’s Championship play-off final, has won five senior caps for his country since both he and Kyle Naughton were bought by Spurs for a combined fee of around £9m.
The Young Lions entertain Scotland at Bramall Lane on August 13; 11 days after David Weir’s side return to competitive action against Notts County. United last staged an England under-21 fixture when the Czech Republic visited South Yorkshire five years ago.
“I can remember going to watch the under-21’s there when Kyle Naughton made his debut,” Walker, who made 37 United appearances, said. “I managed to follow him into the under-21 team but never got the chance to play at Bramall Lane.
“The first time I went back to play against United was when I was at Aston Villa on loan. I scored too.
“Football throws up things you don’t expect but it’s a club I love and I’ll always remember everything they’ve done for me. It’s a ground that I always want to return to and play for.”
England under-21’s v Scotland under-21’s is being dedicated to Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion campaign, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this season.
Tickets are priced £10 adults, £5 concessions or £20 for a family of four. (*T&C’s apply). For details telephone 0871 995 1889 or visit www.sufc.talent-sport.co.uk