Classy Kyle Walker shows love of Sheffield United as Man City pass tough Bramall Lane test

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Classy Walker has up-and-down afternoon on his latest return to boyhood club

Kyle Walker showed his class, and love of Sheffield United, once more with his latest return to Bramall Lane yesterday. The Manchester City treble-winning superstar applauded Blades fans at the start of the second half and then repeated the gesture at half-time, touching his heart as he saluted the fans who supported him as he took his first steps in senior football all those years ago.

Walker, now 33, was 19 when he left United on a permanent basis back in 2009, later returning for a loan spell the following season from Tottenham. He has made no secret of his desire to finish his career at Bramall Lane but judging by yesterday’s performance still has a lot left to offer at the top end of the Premier League, producing an inspired driven cross that led to Rodri’s dramatic winner at Bramall Lane.

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The moment was all the more impressive considering Walker was culpable for United’s equaliser just minutes earlier, when he tried to backheel his way out of trouble under pressure from Benie Traore. Traore intercepted and despite a poor pass to Gus Hamer, Vini Souza recycled the ball with a typically-combative tackle and seconds later, it was in the back of City’s net via the boot of substitute Jayden Bogle.

Walker showed his frustration by kicking out at an advertising hoarding in front of the Kop but did not overly celebrate after Erling Haaland eventually put City ahead just after the hour mark, even toning down his elation after Rodri’s dramatic winner. “A good team spirit shown to come back and grab the three points today,” Walker posted on Instagram after the game. “Thank you for the kind welcome and good luck for the season ahead Sheffield United.”

United’s hopes of their first point of the season were dashed with one flick of Rodri’s left boot and left Bramall Lane with nothing to show for their efforts apart from pride, encouragement and, hopefully, an increased level of respect from so many who had dismissed them as relegation fodder this season.

Walker was linked with a return to United earlier this summer and although boss Paul Heckingbottom dismissed that was ever a realistic possibility, he admitted in the build-up to the City game that he would be open to working with the England defender at some point. “One hundred per cent. I’d be interested to see how fit he looks and what he thinks about the game now,” Heckingbottom said.

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“The clubs he has been at and how he has learned. I’m just interested in how long he wants to go on for at the top. I speak to any one of the lads I have worked with and still now I say: ‘Keep going, as high as you can, as long as you can.’ Unless you stop enjoying it, then fine. But don’t you be part of the reason you draw your career to an end.”

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