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England’s Kyle Walker declares himself fit for USA clash

England’s Kyle Walker declares himself fit for USA clash

England and Manchester City right-back Kyle Walker has affirmed that he is fit and ready to go for Friday’s World Cup 2022 Group B clash with the USA at the Al Bayt Stadium.

The 32-year-old’s game time this season has been severely limited due to a groin injury and subsequent surgery, making just seven Premier League appearances for the champions.

Walker sustained the problem against Manchester United on October 2 and did not feature in any of Man City’s final six Premier League matches before the World Cup break.

However, Walker was spotted in training with the group prior to Monday’s 6-2 win over Iran in their opening match, where he was given the green light to make the bench.

The 70-cap international did not earn any minutes in that game as Kieran Trippier got the nod at right-back, but he now feels capable of starting for his country after stepping up his recovery.

Manchester City's Kyle Walker receives medical attention on October 2, 2022© Reuters

When asked by reporters if he feels ready to return on Friday, Walker said: “Yes. Does the manager agree? I don’t know. Listen, I’m fit, I’ve been training now for two weeks and I feel sharp,” as quoted by the Evening Standard.

“Can you replicate what you do on a match day? Of course I can’t. Me and the physio, me and the fitness coach cannot have an 11 v 11 against each other. We can do as much as we can do before I have to go into training and kick a ball with the lads.

“So I feel good. Obviously the manager has a tough decision to make in picking 11 players from 26. I had the operation, it was needed, I probably played three weeks longer than I should have done.

“The Manchester United game was the final straw when it popped. It was a rupture on my groin, I got four hooks on my groin, and I did three repairs, but it was going fantastically well, I am really happy, everyone seems to be happy with it.”

England did not come out of their thumping victory against Iran unscathed, as Harry Maguire and captain Harry Kane were both casualties in the second half.

England's Harry Kane celebrates after the match on November 21, 2022© Reuters

Maguire was taken off with an illness amid earlier concussion fears, while Kane jarred his ankle following a challenge from Morteza Pouraliganji and was replaced by Callum Wilson in the 76th minute.

However, both men have now returned to training with the group and have been passed fit by Gareth Southgate, who told BBC Sport: “Harry [Kane] is fine. He has worked slightly separately from the group but all good for Friday night. He had a scan [on Wednesday] to make sure everything is fine.

Elaborating on Maguire, Southgate added: “He was feeling ill and that was affecting his vision. You worry about concussion in that instant, but we were going back through all the footage and there is nothing, so he is in a good area.”

As a result, England may only be working with the one absentee in James Maddison for Friday’s game, with the Leicester City playmaker still struggling to overcome a knee problem.

The Three Lions sit comfortably at the top of Group B and will seal a place in the last 16 should they beat Gregg Berhalter‘s side later this week.

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