MANCHESTER, England (AP) – England defender Kyle Walker has doubts about his World Cup qualification this year after undergoing groin surgery this week.
The Manchester City player was injured in Sunday’s 6-3 draw against Manchester United. He was taken off the field in the 41st minute.
“As players, we need to understand that injuries are an integral part of the game we love.” Walker tweeted over a photograph of himself in a hospital bed. “My surgery on Tuesday went well and I can now focus on rehab and getting back to full fitness. I will support my teammates every day as much as I can.”
The City said in a statement Thursday that the operation was “successful.”
Walker, 32, has been a solid England international but manager Gareth Southgate is now looking forward to seeing if the defender can recover in time to play in Qatar.
After beating Copenhagen 5-0 in the Champions League, city manager Josep Guardiola said Walker was out for an extended period.
“It’s something abdominal and he’ll be gone for a while. I can’t say anything more,” Guardiola said. “Kyle will be away for a while. We need to talk to the doctors. I hope he can (come back for the World Championship) like Calvin (Phillips).
“I know how important the World Cup is for the players, but to be honest, I don’t know it now.”
Walker was a key figure in England’s path to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and the final of last year’s European Championship.
Southgate has plenty of defensive options in Rhys James, Kieran Trippier and Trent Alexander-Arnold, but losing Walker would be a major blow to his World Cup preparations.
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James Robson on https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson