Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder cracks a joke about Manchester City's Kyle Walker
Chris Wilder has joked that Kyle Walker knows where to find him if he fancies a return to South Yorkshire, after naming the former Sheffield United defender as the player he would most like to sign from Manchester City’s squad.
Walker, who expected to feature for Pep Guardiola’s side at Bramall Lane tomorrow, has publicly stated he wants to finish his career at the club where he first turned professional before moving to Tottenham Hotspur 11 years ago.
Although Wilder admitted that is unlikely to happen anytime soon, he likened Walker’s situation to that of another Steelphalt Academy graduate Phil Jagielka, who rejoined United during the close season following over a decade with Everton.
“Don’t count against it,” Wilder laughed, when asked if he had considered making Walker’s dream come true. “I still see his performances for City, how good they are and his mentality.
“He’s got my number so anytime.
“We might have to have a bit of a discussion on his wages. It’s like Sunday League isn’t it, with the subs. Maybe he can wash the kits for us!”
“Joking aside, I think the world of Kyle,” Wilder continued. “He’s a right good lad and he’s had a brilliant career.
“All of the players there (City) are incredible players.”
Walker, aged 29, became the world’s most expensive defender when he arrived at the Etihad Stadium in the summer of 2017; a title now held by Manchester United centre-half Harry Maguire, who also started his career with United.
“The amount of people who end up staying in Sheffield or coming back is remarkable,” Wilder said. “You see Gagey (Kevin Gage) and Chris Waddle, who was at Sheffield Wednesday, all still around the place even though they’re from different areas.
“So there’s definitely a connection between the clubs and the ex-players.
“You’ve seen it with Jags too. He’s not played a lot of football but I can’t speak highly enough of him and the effect he’s having on the players; the experience he’s passing on to the boys who are in their first season of Premier League football.”
“Kyle is the same because any opportunity to come back he does,” Wilder added. “Harry is the same as well.
“They are top performers in the top division in the world.”
United are seventh in the table following last weekend’s draw at Arsenal.
Second-placed City, the reigning Premier League champions, beat Wilder’s side 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium 21 days ago.
They are set to assess John Stones (leg), Benjamin Mendy (muscular fatigue) and Aymeric Laporte (knee) before crossing the Pennines.