Kyle Walker: 2023/24 Season Overview

Kyle Walker: 2023/24 Season Overview
Kyle Walker: 2023/24 Season Overview

To say Kyle Walker grew into his role as Manchester City captain during the 2023/24 campaign is perhaps an understatement.

While Walker has undoubtedly been one of the team’s leaders since he joined the Blues in 2017, the added responsibility of wearing the armband of the Treble winners added a new dimension to both his game and his persona.

In short, he relished the role of captain and became an even more inspirational figure who is indispensable to our defence.

Now 34, Walker’s fitness and athleticism is perhaps at the best level of his career – and that’s quite a statement for one of English football’s fittest professionals.

And his speed has – almost uniquely – not only been maintained, despite his long career, it seems to have increased!

His blistering pace allows Pep Guardiola the option of utilising his defenders as additional midfielders and attackers, safe in the knowledge that any long-ball counter-attacks will be chased down by Walker.

His pace gives the Blues a unique insurance policy , but of course, Walker’s speed is just one of his assets.

Walker’s physicality is outstanding, and he is a winger’s worst nightmare, able to not only outpace the majority of wide men in the Premier League and Europe, but out-muscle them as well.

He clocked up 47 appearances in his seventh campaign as a City player – the most since the 2018/19 season – and his 32 Premier League matches is also his best tally for five years.

Walker is integral to City’s build-up play, too, always providing an outlet down the right, with his neat, short passing a feature of our attacks and his occasional superb cross-field passes among the best and most accurate in the league (he hit 78 successfully in the Premier League alone in 2023/24).

Walker would lift three trophies in 2023/24 – the Premier League, FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup – but will feel it could have been so much more.

The FA Community Shield and FA Cup are two trophies the Blues will feel slipped through our hands, while the Champions League exit to Real Madrid will remain a source of disappointment for some time, with City arguably the better team over two legs against the eventual winners of the competition.

Three could have easily been five or even six, but it was a magnificent effort from a team fresh from becoming only the second side to achieve an exhausting men’s Treble in England and the way the Blues hunted down Liverpool and Arsenal in the title race was nothing short of incredible.

Walker, of course, was leading from the front throughout.

A completely different type of captain than the more reserved Ilkay Gundogan, Walker really was Manchester City’s captain fantastic throughout 2023/24, and whenever the going got tough, he led by example.

As the old saying goes, he is the type of player you want alongside you in the trenches in times of adversity.

Recently, Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville succinctly said: “Once [Kyle] goes to Pep Guardiola and Manchester City, his concentration and intensity is there every single day. The expectation is so high, and then you see a different level of player.

“I have never been worried about him when the ball is on his side, against an Mbappe or a Vinicius Junior. The problem was always when the ball was on the opposite side at the back post.

“You really do need to be switched on. He has improved that part of his game enormously. His leadership obviously is immense.”

In total, our captain clocked up 4,083 minutes in all competitions last season, providing five assists but – not unusually for Kyle – failing to find the back of the net with his average more or less one goal per 50 games.

For a player who uses such speed and strength, collecting just two yellow cards all season is impressive.

His leadership has also been recognised by England boss Gareth Southgate for the European Championships, too, with Kyle named as vice captain to Harry Kane – no doubt a position he will cherish in his 14th year with the national team.

WATCH: Watch: Walker's City highlights as he reaches 300 games

Season stats

Played (all comps): 47

Goals: 0

Minutes played: 4,083

Tackles won: 38

Duels won: 102


In his own words

“Why can’t we do five in a row? A lot of us are going to represent our country at the Euros or the Copa América now and we’ll do that with pride. After that, I hope we get some sort of a break because you need to recharge, not even physically but mentally. But I can assure you when we come back for pre-season it might take us a few days to get the cobwebs off but as soon as that first Premier League game comes we’re straight back into motion and trying to defend our crown.”

Pep on Walker

“I would say first of all as a footballer, Kyle has a genetic quality that is incomparable, and his physicality is something unique. After is the personality. When he talks to his team-mates, the people listen and now I think he is making a step as a more mature player, on and off the pitch.”

WATCH: Watch: The best of Kyle Walker