Kyle Walker backs decision to return early to Man City from World Cup

Kyle Walker says it would have been “stupid” not to return early for Manchester City training following his World Cup exploits for England.

Walker and fellow City defender John Stones were back in full preparation for the new Premier League campaign last week, just two-and-a-half weeks after the Russian tournament finished on July 15.

Walker revealed after their Community Shield victory over Chelsea at the weekend that manager Pep Guardiola had permitted the players to come back on Monday August 6 ahead of their opener at Arsenal, live on Sky Sports.

Having enjoyed Premier League glory last season, Walker wants more and said: “This is a title, and I have not won many.

“So to not be a part of this would have been stupid, for me to not want to come back. The gaffer gave me the option, he said you can either come back on 6 August after this, or you can come back and to play.

“There is no doubt in my mind that I wanted to be here to achieve what I have achieved today. Luckily the risk paid off.

“Come Christmas I might be saying to you that I’m absolutely knackered, but that is just football!

“I’m not looking into the future, I take every game as it comes, and as long as I am on the pitch and playing football, that is what keeps me happy.”

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Walker is adamant record-breaking champions City will settle for nothing less than an improved campaign after romping to the title by a 19-point margin, setting numerous records along the way, including a points tally of 100.

Guardiola’s appetite for success is undimmed and so too, it seems, is his players’, with Walker outlining his ambitions.

“What we achieved was incredible,” added Walker, who moved from Tottenham a year ago.

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“My first year there was incredible. We set the bar last year. We set it so high that we have to try to raise it. Everyone in that dressing room is not going to settle for anything less this year and we want to pick up more trophies.

“I know the gaffer wants to win everything he possibly can and so do his players. We need to drive each other on. It’s up to us to achieve those dreams.

“We achieved big things, but we can’t stop there. We have to keep going and trying to improve, that’s individually and collectively.”