For years now, Kyle Walker-Peters has been the forgotten man at Tottenham Hotspur. The Spurs youth academy at one point looked like he would be the next player to force his way in to the Tottenham first team at right back, putting in some impressive performances, including two man of the match awards, in brief starts under Mauricio Pochettino.
But it never seemed to work out for Kyle. Despite showing what looked like some promise, Pochettino never seemed to give him the minutes that he needed to further develop, and Poch’s transfer policy meant that Walker-Peters was kept at home to train with Spurs’ first team rather than be loaned out for additional experience under a different manager.
That continued after Pochettino’s departure and the appointment of Jose Mourinho. Under Mou, KWP made the bench twice, in Mourinho’s first two matches in charge, but was left out of the side entirely for the rest of the season. He was then loaned to Southampton in January where it was hoped that he’d establish himself with regular minutes at fullback to either earn his way into Mourinho’s good graces or force a sale at the end of the season.
Now, after several matches on the bench at St. Mary’s, Walker-Peters has finally shown glimpses of what he can do, and Saints manager Ralph Hassenhuttl has noticed. KWP was a substitute for Southampton’s Yan Valery for the entire second half in Saints’ 2-0 loss to Arsenal, but his performance caught Hassenhuttl’s eye, and he admitted as such in his press conference.
Hasenhuttl hinting that Tottenham loanee Kyle Walker-Peters will be involved more during the run-in: "We will give him more moments to show up; then have to make a decision this summer." Yan Valery the player likely to make way. #SaintsFC— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) June 26, 2020
“Yes, this is always the same issue you have with players on loan, especially when you know that there’s less options to get him permanent in the summer, but even now, we must find the guy who is fitting the best to what we need at the moment.
“And yesterday, especially in the second half, we needed a lot of possession and then it was clear that with Kyle we have footballing a guy who is calm on the ball and can create some threat on the right side.”
More minutes for KWP would be very important for him, and for Tottenham. It doesn’t seem likely that Walker-Peters is in Mourinho’s plans — pretty sure that ship has sailed and if Mourinho needs reinforcements at right back it will either be from a transfer or at least temporarily through Japhet Tanganga.
But if funds are at a premium due to COVID, as it appears that they are, then KWP making himself into a salable asset increases the likelihood that Southampton could make an approach this summer for a permanent signing. It also means that those funds can be re-invested in the squad in areas of need (like, say, a right back that Jose Mourinho actually likes.)
A solid 45 minutes in a 2-0 home loss to Arsenal isn’t the most solid thing to hang your hat on, but it’s a start. Whether you think Kyle should be playing for Tottenham or should be sold, it’s in all of our best interests that he get opportunities to impress when he can get them, and take the chances that come his way.