Manchester City right-back Kyle Walker has played down his fears of missing the Champions League final with a back injury.
The England international sat out an open training session on Tuesday as City continued their preparations for Saturday’s clash with Inter Milan in Istanbul.
The 33-year-old looked uncomfortable as he was substituted in the last minute of City’s FA Cup final triumph over Manchester United at Wembley.
But Walker was one of several players made available for media interviews later on Tuesday and he insisted the issue was not serious.
“I’m fine, just getting old,” he told Sky Sports News. “I’m fine, it’s just an extra recovery day.
Kyle Walker has insisted he will be fit for the Champions League final despite injury concerns
The England right-back was substituted late in the FA Cup final and appeared in some discomfort
He then missed training with a back problem which appeared to be cause for concern
“I’ve played a lot of minutes over the past few weeks so the manager said, ‘Stay inside and come on Saturday, you’ll be eager to leave’.
“I’m fine, the minutes I played when everyone was injured, I was there digging my heels in and working my way out. I will not miss the Champions League final for anything in the world.
Manager Pep Guardiola also said Walker’s absence from training was just a precaution.
“He had a bad back,” Guardiola told a press conference. “Yesterday he was not good, today he was a bit better but we didn’t want to take any risks. We will see what will happen in the next few days.
City are bidding to win the Champions League for the first time and complete a glorious treble after their Premier League and FA Cup successes this season.
They are also looking to erase the memory of their painful defeat to Chelsea in the 2021 final.
As three-time winners Inter have Europe’s greatest pedigree, but City will come into the game as heavy favorites against the side who finished third in Serie A this season.
Guardiola, however, insists what happened in the past – and even current form – matters little now.
Pep Guardiola insisted it was nothing more than a precaution after Walker missed training
Walker has already won two titles this season – the Premier League and the FA Cup – and is looking for a treble
He said: “It’s really good to travel in a few days to Istanbul. We go together and it’s a dream to be here.
“Two years ago we were there but in different situations with Covid.
“We will try to do our best and we know the final is how you perform during those specific 95 minutes, not the story.
“For the story they are better than us but it’s about what you have to do to be better than the opponent in 95 minutes.”
“It doesn’t count what you did in the group stage, the Premier League or the FA Cup. We have to be better than them.
Guardiola is comfortable with the label of favorites.
“We are used to it,” he said. ‘Why should it be more dangerous? Accept the role and go into it knowing the quality of the opponents. We accept what people say, no problem.
City will have to back Inter in the showpiece final in Istanbul after the Italian side beat arch-nemesis AC Milan in the semi-finals
City’s form in the latter part of the season, when they beat Arsenal to win the Premier League and overtook Bayern Munich and Real Madrid to reach this weekend’s showpiece, was exceptional.
Guardiola acknowledges that confidence is high in the City squad but insists there will be no complacency.
He said: “It’s a final against a top team and we have to do it.” We are confident, I am so optimistic, but at the same time I cannot deny the quality of the opponent.
“I’ve never done that and especially not in the Champions League final.”
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