England: Kyle Walker dismisses international retirement thoughts with Pepe and Luka Modric for inspiration

Kyle Walker has set his sights on becoming England’s answer to Portugal’s evergreen Pepe, as he insists he has no plans to make this summer’s Euros his last major tournament.

Walker, 34, is the oldest member of Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2024 squad in Germany but is showing no signs of slowing down at what is his fifth major tournament.

The Manchester City star enjoyed another fine season at club level and was his usual reliable self in Sunday’s opening victory over Serbia, linking superbly with Bukayo Saka in the build-up to Jude Bellingham’s decisive goal.

On Tuesday, Portugal centre-back Pepe became the oldest player in European Championship history, starting his country’s 2-1 win over Czech Republic aged 41 years and 113 days. Walker, with seven years in hand on the Porto defender, believes he, too, has plenty of miles left on the lock.

“To represent my country as many times as I have done - honestly, I never thought I’d do it once, so to do it for the amount of years I’ve done it, I have to say is a credit to myself,” said Walker, who will win his 85th cap against Denmark in Frankfurt on Thursday.

“But I look at Pepe last night and he’s 41 playing for Portugal. So, they’re the levels people are setting now, the likes of Luka Modric, people like that.

“These are people carrying on for top teams at a top level for a considerable amount of time. If they can do it, why can’t I?”

England have been blessed with options at right-back during Southgate’s tenure but Walker has seen off competition from the likes of Kieran Trippier, Reece James and Trent Alexander-Arnold to remain indisputable first-choice.

Last September, however, the Three Lions boss revealed he has had to talk the former Tottenham man out of international retirement following each of the last two major tournaments.

When asked whether he had a timescale in mind for how long he would continue beyond these Euros, though, Walker said: “How long’s a piece of string?

“I feel as long as you’re putting the performances in for your club, which then gets you into the England fold, I’m in contention. I still feel great.

“A lot of people do bang on about my age but age is just a number to me. I still feel quick, I still feel strong, I still feel young.

“Even at my age I still want to learn. I feel the game’s adapting all the time and with the youngsters that are coming in they’re showing me different things I can learn from and different techniques, and I think every day is a learning day never mind if you’re 34 like me or 19 like Kobbie [Mainoo].”