England international Kyle Walker has spoken about what pushed him to leave Tottenham, a club he had been with for eight years, in favour of a move to the blue half of Manchester.
Speaking to the Times, Walker revealed that his exclusion from the starting eleven in a number of big games for Spurs had him questioning his future.
"They were the ones that gave me my Premier League opportunity. They believed in me," Walker said when asked about his difficult decision to leave north London. "I’m not going to sit here and lie and say it wasn’t tough. It was very tough.
"Having spent eight years there, that club is in my heart. I’m not going to deny that. Tottenham is in my heart. Those last few months were difficult, though."
Walker went on to reveal the catalyst for his decision to leave Spurs over the summer, stating that a number of substitute appearances in vital games left him wanting out. He said: "Not starting against Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final or the last North London derby at White Hart Lane or the last game there, against Manchester United, having been there for eight years, that hurt.
"Sometimes I feel like crying when I think about it - that I spent eight years there and I’ll never see that place again. It hurts. But I’m a man. I’m a professional," he said. "I was encouraging Tripps [Kieran Trippier], wanting him to do well, wanting the team to do well.
"The gaffer [Mauricio Pochettino] picked the team he thought was best and I had to deal with it. The important thing was winning those games.
"Once I knew I was allowed to leave Tottenham and that I wasn’t as much in the manager’s plans as I thought I was going to be, there were a number of clubs I could have gone to," Walker revealed. "But when this opportunity came up, to work with the manager here [Pep Guardiola], I couldn’t turn it down.
"It was football reasons first and foremost. If this was a team that booted it long, I wouldn’t have come because it wouldn’t have helped my game. But after speaking to the gaffer here, knowing the players he was going to bring, I thought this team was going to be a force."