Look at Pepe – Kyle Walker has no plans to spend time on his international career

Kyle Walker may be the oldest player in the England squad for Euro 2024, but he draws inspiration from the likes of Pepe and Luka Modric and insists he is far from ready to put his international football boots aside.

The 34-year-old has been a mainstay of Gareth Southgate’s side in recent years and is now playing in his fifth major tournament with England – who face Denmark in Group C on Thursday, knowing victory will take them into the last 16 at the 2024 European Championship will bring. .

Walker led Manchester City to a fourth consecutive Premier League title last season and remains one of the best right-backs in the world.

Southgate revealed last year that he had to talk Walker out of international retirement twice, but now the defender is determined to carry on.

Kyle Walker speaks with Jordan Pickford
Kyle Walker is in his fifth major tournament with England. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA

When asked if he thought this could be his last tournament and therefore add more motivation to win a first major international trophy, he replied: “Of course I want to go as far as I can.

“To represent my country as many times as I have – honestly I never thought I would do it once, so to do it for the number of years I have done it, I have to say it is an honor for is myself.

“But I look at Pepe last night and he is 41 and plays for Portugal, so these are the levels that people are setting now, like Luka Modric, people like that.

“These are people who have been active for top teams at top levels for quite some time. If they can do it, why can’t I?”

The 2026 World Cup in Mexico, Canada and the United States is a realistic goal for Walker.

He would have just turned 36 by the time those finals take place and has given no timetable for when he may step back, with Pepe having played for Portugal in their victory over the Czech Republic to become the oldest player in history. of the European Championships.

“How long is a piece of string?” Walker said when asked how long he wanted to continue representing England.

“I think as long as you put in the performances for your club that get you into England, I’m in contention. I still feel great.

“A lot of people talk about my age, but age is just a number to me. I still feel fast, I still feel strong, I still feel young. And even at my age I still want to learn.

Pepe played for Portugal on Tuesday at the age of 41
Pepe played for Portugal on Tuesday at the age of 41. Photo: Adam Davy/PA.

“I feel the game is constantly adapting and with the young players coming in, they are showing me different things to learn from and different techniques. I think every day is a learning day, no matter if you are 34 like me or 19 like Kobbie (Mainoo).”

Modric was a teammate of Walker’s during their time together at Tottenham, where the England man also played alongside Christian Eriksen.

Eriksen suffered cardiac arrest during a group match against Finland in Copenhagen, with the match postponed until later in the evening.

With a defibrillator fitted, Eriksen returned to football with Brentford.

Now at Manchester United, Eriksen’s story came full circle when he scored the only goal for Denmark in their opening match against Slovenia last week.

Christian Eriksen (center) celebrates with teammates
Christian Eriksen (center) celebrates with teammates after scoring for Denmark. Photo: Nick Potts/PA.

Eriksen will encounter many familiar faces in Frankfurt on Thursday, including Walker – the two played together at White Hart Lane between 2013 and 2017.

“He’s fantastic, it’s a testament to him,” Walker said of Eriksen’s comeback.

“Obviously we both play in Manchester for the different clubs, we bump into each other every now and then and catch up.

“But what he has done and what he has achieved after the sad incident that happened shows what a character he is and what he really possesses.

“I played with Christian Eriksen at Tottenham for a number of years and at times he can produce magic at the drop of a hat.”

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