Kyle Walker-Peters believes that he would still be at Tottenham and not Southampton if Mauricio Pochettino had remained as manager.
The 22-year-old left Spurs to join the Saints on loan in January, making only one appearance before the Coronavirus-imposed postponement.
In an exclusive interview with Southampton’s official website, Walker-Peters appeared to take a veiled dig at Jose Mourinho for not giving him a chance to prove himself, after the change in the dugout at Spurs.
“I think had he stayed, I’d still be at Tottenham,” Walker-Peters states about Pochettino’s departure.
“He was never really big on loans. There were always opportunities for him to send me on loan and he never did, so I think that showed his faith in me.
“Despite not playing me all the time, it showed that he wanted me around. If he hadn’t left, I don’t think I’d be on loan, so it just shows how fast football can change.
“Mourinho comes in and I get to play one game, but I don’t really get an opportunity like I thought I would, in terms of two or three games rotating with Serge Aurier, but the manager has to make decisions. That was his decision, so that’s fine.”
I think Walker-Peters’ has got his knickers in a twist here. Mourinho is the protagonist of this situation by releasing the full-back from the shackles that Pochettino had placed on him.
Under Pochettino, the England Under-21 international may have been kept around, but he wasn’t kept involved. He was rationed to three Premier League starts a season and the odd cup opportunity, and this lack of game time saw the once-promising defender’s development stagnate.
Pochettino had plenty of opportunities to give KWP a run in the team when our other right-backs were playing poorly – plenty – and yet he only used him in the main to make up the numbers.
Mourinho was actually the youngster’s liberator, freeing him from this career prison and allowing him to go and play football.
For reasons out of anybody’s control, it hasn’t worked out. But KWP has got his hero and villain the wrong way round.