Is playing Kyle Walker against Real Madrid a risk worth taking?

One story to come out of yesterday’s 5-1 win over Luton Town for Manchester City was the return of Kyle Walker and Nathan Ake to the City match day squad. While the pair didn’t get on the pitch, their return is a boost for the European champions.

Up next for Pep Guardiola’s side is the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie against Real Madrid. With Carlo Ancelotti’s side having pacey wingers such as Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo in their lineup, if Kyle Walker gets through training this week, should he start against the La Liga leaders?

In the second leg of last season’s UEFA Champions League semi-final at the Etihad Stadium, Kyle Walker kept Vinicius Junior out of the game. His performance was a key component of Manchester City’s dominant 4-nil win over Real Madrid. Vinicius Junior was a constant threat in last week’s draw between the two teams. On occasions, the City defence couldn’t live with his pace and creativity. The same can be said about his compatriot Rodrygo. Their pace on the counter was Carlo Ancelotti’s sides major weapon in the 3-all draw at the Bernabeu.

That is where Kyle Walker at full fitness comes in. When fully fit, he is a key part of the Manchester City defence. City’s captain when fit and firing usually thrives in the face of such challenges. With his pace and experience, opponents are wary of taking on the England international. The deciding factor will be if Walker can get through training this week before City’s eagerly anticipated contest with Real Madrid.

At his best, Kyle Walker would be an automatic selection against Real Madrid. But as he has just returned from a hamstring injury, it does change the scenario. Manchester City and Pep Guardiola wouldn’t want to risk their captain and see him go down with another injury. But his strengths are well suited to counter Real Madrid’s attacking weapons. It will be an interesting subplot to watch for in the build-up to Wednesday night’s match at the Etihad Stadium.

Tags Etihad Stadium Kyle Walker Luton Town Manchester City Nathan Ake Pep Guardiola Real Madrid UEFA Champions League Vinicius Junior