Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has revealed just how much Kyle Walker loves Sheffield United.
Walker scored the winner against his boyhood club in a 1-0 Premier League victory for Man City on Saturday.
Yet in respect to the Blades, the defender didn’t celebrate the goal. Walker said afterwards it was because he remains a fan of the team that gave him his first opportunity in professional football.
The 30-year-old was an academy graduate at Bramall Lane before leaving for Tottenham Hotspur in 2009. City then signed Walker in a deal worth £50m (BBC Sport) in the summer of 2017.
And Guardiola quickly came to realise how big a United supporter his new right-back is.
“I remember when Sheffield United played in the playoffs, and he was in the dressing room saying ‘come on Sheffield, come on Sheffield,” the Spaniard told BT Sport, as quoted by Sports Illustrated.
“He loves this club, but the goal was so important for us.”
Confusion over which Sheffield United season Guardiola is referring to
By the time Walker arrived at the Etihad Stadium, the Blades had confirmed their promotion to the Championship after six years in League One.
Chris Wilder had guided the South Yorkshire side to the title with 100 points. The following season they finished 10th, before Wilder made it two promotions in three years in 2018/19 to return to the top flight following a 12-year absence.
We’re therefore a little confused as to what Guardiola is referring to. The last time the Blades competed in the playoffs was in 2014/15, when the 49-year-old was still in charge at Bayern Munich.
Perhaps Walker was celebrating United simply going up. Either way, we hope he didn’t refer to them as “Sheffield” as Guardiola remembers.
Born and raised in the red and white half of the city, the England international knows better than that.