Kyle Walker says that England need to be a realistic about how far they can go at the World Cup this summer and first need to concentrate on getting out of a group that includes Belgium, Tunisia and Panama.
After impressing for Manchester City this season and being named in the PFA Team of the Year, Walker is set to be a key figure for England at Russia 2018. But the right-back insists that the squad are still lacking in big-game experience.
“I hope we can go as far as we can go, but we need to be realistic,” he told TalkSPORT. “To win the World Cup is going to be a miracle, but we have got the players to do it. A lot of us play in probably the best league in the world.
“We’ve got the players to do it, but have we got the experience going further along in competitions? No we haven’t. Not in recent years.
“We need to be realistic. There are a lot of good teams out there and our record in tournaments has not been fantastic.
“We’ve had a lot of conversations inside the camp — England haven’t won a knockout game for God knows how many years, so for us to go there and win a knockout game, that would be a step in the right direction.”
Walker also urged his club boss Pep Guardiola to stay longer at Manchester City and lead them into a dominant era after claiming the Premier League title last weekend.
Sources have told ESPN FC that Guardiola is close to signing a 12-month contract extension to his current deal, which has one year remaining.
Walker says the manager was one of the main reasons he chose to join City from Spurs for £45m in the summer and he believes Guardiola can help the club win their first Champions League in the seasons to come following the disappointment of their exit to Liverpool in the quarterfinals this month.
“He just wants to win and I think that shows in his record as a manager that he likes to win and he likes to do it in style as well,” he added.
“That was a big reason for me signing for Manchester City because of a manager of his calibre. I wanted to work him. He’s worked with a couple of heroes of mine in Dani Alves and Phillip Lahm and I wanted him to pass on the information to me.
“I want him to stay, I’m enjoying working with him and I’m sure all the lads are as well. We do need to get a Champions League but it’s difficult because it’s probably the best competition in the world, but for us to compete we need to be on our A game constantly.
“We were all frustrated, with the quality we’ve got in the dressing room, we thought we could go all the way but fair play to Liverpool, they played a fantastic game and beat us in both legs.
“His team talks before the game says everything about him and he gives of an aura and everyone of us believes were the best players in the world before we go out onto the pitch.”
Jonathan is ESPN FC’s Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.