Rio Ferdinand names the ‘standout’ defender in the Premier League this season


Rio Ferdinand praised Kyle Walker following his excellent performance in Man City’s win over Sheffield United (Picture: BT Sport)

Rio Ferdinand praised the performance of Kyle Walker following his matchwinning display against Sheffield United and believes the England international has been the Premier League’s ‘standout’ defender so far this season.

The 30-year-old was involved in several off-field controversies earlier this year, but he has knuckled down under Pep Guardiola and emerged as a key component of an improving City defence.

Guardiola has used Walker in his customary right-back position on occasion this season, but also utilised the former Tottenham star’s his pace to help provide cover at centre-half.

Walker also demonstrated his attacking strengths against the Blades an popped up with the only goal of the contest midway through the first-half with rasiping low drive from the edge of the penalty which squeezed past Aaron Ramsdale.

Commenting on Walker’s eye-catching display, Ferdinand told BT Sport: ‘I think he’s been the standout defender in the league so far. I think the way in which he attacks the games, he’s got determination he drives at the games.

Kyle Walker scored the only goal in Man City’s win over Sheffield United (Picture: Getty)

‘He’s never playing in first gear just chilling. Everything is done at high-tempo, it must be a nightmare to play against but also defensively he’s been very sound. Pep Guardiola has been speaking really, really highly about him during the week as well so he’s doing all the right things on the pitch.

‘I just think his consistency. What he does is, he patrols the whole right-hand side when he’s in full flow. It’s like a man among boys sometimes physically. His physicality is something to marvel at really.

‘It’s phenomenal. He’s got quality on the ball, he can switch it from right to left. He’s got all parts of his game working fine.

‘He’s got that maturity in his game now. You get to that stage in your career where you know the game inside out and you can see the confidence. Big personalities have left that dressing room. Kompany has gone, David Silva. Now he seems like one of the leaders.’

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