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Pochettino cagy on Kyle Walker exit rumors

Tottenham’s manager isn’t going to talk about reports linking Kyle Walker with a transfer out of White Hart Lane.

Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

It was bound to happen — Mauricio Pochettino was directly asked about the rumors of a developing rift between himself and Tottenham Hotspur right back Kyle Walker at a press conference ahead of Friday’s Premier League match against West Ham. Reports are swirling that Kyle Walker has asked to leave Tottenham this summer, but has not yet submitted a transfer request. Pochettino didn’t take the bait, deflecting questions about his relationship with Walker and whether the player is happy at Spurs.

Suggestions that your relationship with Kyle Walker is not all it should be and that Toby Alderweireld's contract talks have stalled. Is that true?

A lot of rumours and you know I never speak about rumours. There are many rumours about all the players.

It is unhelpful that there are all these rumours?

It’s not a good thing. because I think that Tottenham is the team most involved in the rumours. Yes, you see now in the last month, still two weeks to play and four games, there are many rumours.

But it doesn’t affect me, I am so calm, the players are very calm. They all know what happens inside. It’s important our fans know that here is really calm. Rumours are rumours, we will see what happens at the end if they are true or not, like always in football. That is why I am so relaxed.

Is Kyle Walker in contention to start against West Ham?

Yes, he’s on list for tomorrow.

Is he happy at Tottenham?

I cannot confirm this, because it’s rumours. If I speak about all the rumours, we will be in the press conference for two hours. I think it’s about football, we understand them but I can’t confirm anything because they’re rumours.

Press conference transcription by

We already know that Pochettino is very good in front of the press corps despite the (shrinking) language barrier. Maybe this is just my unease about the plausibility of the Kyle Walker rumors, but this feels different somehow. Pochettino isn’t above outright lying about situations that he either doesn’t want to address or wants to keep obfuscated, but this isn’t a denial, this is directly avoiding the question.

Later in the press conference, Pochettino talked about his penchant for rotating his fullbacks, something he did to great effectiveness both last season and this season. In light of the Walker rumors, and even though Poch regularly praises his entire squad and not just his stars, his answer seemed to carry a bit more gravitas than normal.

Has rotating wing-backs been key for you?

Yes, if you follow me it was one of the good decisions. Because when you have players who deserve to play, you can rotate and all feel involved and important to the team, that is good.

From the beginning I remember always because the rotation between Danny Rose and Ben Davies, now Trippier and Kyle in the last two seasons. You can see the performances.

If you look at the starting XI in the Premier League, we have plenty of players because we have good players and a squad who affect the team-mates and make them better.

That is a very good thing for us. It’s difficult because tomorrow we focus on winning the game in the race for the title, but for me after three seasons I want to praise the players, their effort. The demand from the coaching staff is so high. For me they are heroes, super players because every season we improve. When nobody believes, we improve again. That is a big credit to them, not only to some people.

Press conference transcription by

It seems clear that Pochettino is not going to be very forthcoming with actual details until the season ends, and perhaps not even then. If I had to put money on it, though, all the signs are pointing to Kyle Walker leaving the club in the offseason, and that’s how I would bet.