An excerpt from Pochettino’s new book “Brave New World” was published in the Daily Mail, and the Argentine explains why the England international pushed for a move to City.
It all started when Walker was tardy for a pre-season meeting, months after an end of season collapse culminated with a 5-1 defeat to Championship-bound Newcastle. “Kyle Walker came into the room late. Not good. Something clicked in my head at that moment,” Pochettino admitted.
A once-healthy relationship between manager and player took another hit after Pochettino opted to start Kieran Trippier over Walker for two April matches against Burnley and Watford after the international break. “Leaving out a regular always wounds them, creating a rift between them and the coaching staff that can be very difficult to heal,” the manager added.
It would appear that it created one rift too many, and after the Watford match, Walker addressed his Tottenham tenure.
“Walker came to my office after the Watford game. ‘Gaffer, I’ve been at Tottenham for nine years. I’ve thought about it and my heart isn’t here any more. Nor is my head. I’ve given all I have to give. I wanted to tell you before I tell my agent that I want to leave this summer.’
“‘Kyle, you have to stay professional. There’s a month and a half to go. We’re battling for the Premier League and FA Cup. We have to be focused and finish the campaign strongly’,” Pochettion conceded.
“‘OK, gaffer. But it’s already decided’,” Walker said, according to Pochettino, though it was too late, and the divide between the two prompted reports linking the full-back with a move from north London. Walker would go on to cement a blockbuster £50-million move to the Etihad, with Spurs opting to platoon Trippier and former Paris Saint-Germain marauder Serge Aurier for the 2017-18 campaign.