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World Cup: Kyle Walker facing race against time for Qatar

Following news Kyle Walker has undergone surgery on a groin injury, the England full-back now faces a nervous wait to see if he'll be ready for the World Cup in Qatar.

England boss Gareth Southgate does have alternative options at right-back and centre-back but if fit, Manchester City's Walker would certainly be on the flight to Qatar next month.

WhatWorld Cup
WhereQatar
When20th November - 18th December 2022
How to watchAll matches will be shown on either the BBC or ITV
OddsBrazil 9/2, England 11/2, France 6/1, Argentina 7/1, Spain 8/1

A nervy wait for Walker

City's 6-3 demolition of Manchester United on Sunday came at a cost with the loss of Walker to injury in the first half of the rout at the Etihad Stadium.

The former Tottenham defender was forced off just before the break and quickly it was realised the groin injury would require surgery.

Walker has since gone under the knife to resolve the issue and on Thursday posted an image of himself in post-surgery on social media.

There has so far been no timescale put on Walker's recovery, but with England boss Southgate set to name his 26-man squad for the World Cup on 20th October, there are questions now over the City star's fitness for the major tournament.

England take on Iran in their opening game of the World Cup at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on 21st November, with the Three Lions at 2/7 to make a winning start to the competition.

While Walker has been known to play at centre-back at times, the 32-year-old is better known for his abilities at right-back.

While Southgate won't want to be without the Yorkshireman for the tournament, there are strong options should Walker lose his race to be fit for Qatar.

James pushing for starting role

One right-back who is going from strength to strength this season is Chelsea star Reece James.

The 22-year-old has established himself as a key figure in the Blues side and seems to be playing an even more important role under new boss Graham Potter at Stamford Bridge.

James got his name on the scoresheet in Chelsea's 3-0 victory over AC Milan on Wednesday night and was a standout performer for the hosts in west London.

The former Wigan Athletic loan star, who is 1/16 to be in England's final World Cup squad, is now being tipped to be the first-choice right-back for that opener against Iran.

Questions remain on Alexander-Arnold's defending

A player who has come in for plenty of criticism for his form this year, Trent Alexander-Arnold has seen his stock fall ahead of the World Cup, which England are 7/1 to win.

Alexander-Arnold, who is 1/4 to make the final squad, was once a regular starter for his country but there are now questions regarding his place in the national side.

A player with outstanding ability going forward, there are still questions regarding his defensive qualities, as Liverpool continue to endure a tough start to their Premier League campaign.

Scoring the opener in Liverpool's 2-0 win over Rangers in the Champions League will have gone some way to Alexander-Arnold answering his critics, but he will need consistency in his defending before the World Cup.

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Trippier with big game experience

A key figure in helping England reach the semi-finals of the last World Cup in 2018, Kieran Trippier is also in the frame at right-back for the Three Lions.

At 1/7 to make the squad, Trippier is expected to be part of Southgate's plans for the tournament.

Solid in defence and with outstanding quality from set-pieces, Trippier showed in the last World Cup in Russia that he can change matches with his deliveries and in dead ball situations.

Trippier has had a positive start to the Premier League season with Newcastle, who sit in seventh place in the standings after their first eight games of the campaign.

Having enjoyed a spell in La Liga with Atletico Madrid, the former Spurs defender is back impressing in the Premier League.

It looks like it might well be a battle between Trippier, James and Alexander-Arnold for that starting role at right-back if Walker does not make the trip.

Losing Walker would be a major blow for Southgate, as the England boss would be without one of the most experienced players in his set-up.

Only Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane have played more times for their country than Walker, who has represented England on 70 occasions, amongst the current Three Lions crop.

The Manchester City medical team will be doing all they can to get Walker back up to full speed as quickly as possible, as he looks to have what might be his last chance at winning a World Cup.

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