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REVEALED: How Man City star Walker was convinced not to quit at Sheffield Utd

Manchester City's England defender Kyle Walker almost quit the game as a teenager.

Walker was ready to give it away with Sheffield United when playing for the 18s.

Former Sheffield United academy manager Ron Reid told the Sheffield Star: "Kyle came in to see me one day and he was down. He had just finished his scholarship and wasn't quite ready for the first-team and the reserve league was an absolute joke, at the time, with a game every three or four weeks.

"So Kyle had got himself really down, saying, "I might as well pack it in. I'm not getting any games. I'm not going to get in the first-team." It was just Kyle's way of voicing his concerns but, anyway, I went and spoke to the manager.'

Reid presented Kevin Blackwell with a plan to play Walker as one of the two over-age players allowed in the Under 18s.

"I'm not sure if Kevin knew who Kyle was at the time,' said Reid. 'But he agreed and we took him and played him at centre half in a back four. We were playing Aston Villa, we drew 0-0 and he was immense.

"Next game away at Crewe he played again and Noel Blake, who was the England Under 19s coach, was there and came over to me just before half-time and said, 'Who's the centre half?'

"I told him but I said, 'I've got to tell you, Noel, he's over-age, he's a year older than the rest of them.' Noel said, 'I don't care, I'm going to pick him.' And he did.

"The next time there was an England squad to pick, he picked Kyle and from down in the dumps he was playing for England. What he'd done with the Under 18s was to take responsibility and organise. He was superb. He never looked back."

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Paul Vegas

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