In the past week it has been revealed that Alan Hutton requires knee surgery, effectively ruling him out for the rest of the season, while Vedran Corluka clashed with his own fans at the end of Tottenham Hotspur’s 3-2 win over Stoke City, leaving Spurs with right-back issues. Fortunately, Harry Redknapp will soon welcome back two of the brightest English prospects in that particular position when Kyle Naughton and Kyle Walker report back to their parent club, from successful loan spells at Leicester City and Aston Villa respectively.
Signed as a pair from Sheffield United in the summer of 2009, the Kyles have amassed a mere four appearances for Spurs between them thus far. Walker was immediately loaned back to United as part of the transfer agreement, but was recalled on the final day of the following January transfer window to cover for Alan Hutton, who was in turn shipped out to Sunderland. The first half of this season was spent at Queens Park Rangers and Walker currently resides at Aston Villa, where his performances have piqued the interest of Fabio Capello, resulting in a couple of international selections. Naughton was also involved in the same loan activity as Walker and Hutton, moving to Middlesborough for the final six months of last season and starring under Sven-Goran Eriksson at Leicester this season.
Naughton is two years older than Walker and broke in to the Sheffield United side first, making 40 appearances in his only season in the senior side. Walker broke in to the team for the final few games of the same season, with Naughton moving over to the left flank to accommodate him. Walker is the bulkier and more aggressive of the two – the Glen Johnson to Naughton’s Ashley Cole – rampaging up and down the touchline, but Naughton is more technically gifted, an all-rounder gaining a goal-scoring reputation for cutting inside and unleashing on goal from distance, scoring five in 29 games this season.
It seems certain that at least one of the four will move on in the summer. Aston Villa and Everton have recently expressed an interest in Hutton, but Redknapp has already confirmed that Kyle Walker will be returning to the fold, quashing Villa’s chances of signing him on a permanent basis. “Kyle
Corluka can play at centre-back if required and with Jonathan Woodgate and Ledley King grinding to a halt, may be required to move there sooner rather than later. Gareth Bale is likely to be coveted by the biggest sides in Europe throughout the summer so a vacancy may also become available on the left, where Naughton has some experience. There are many potential permutations, but one thing for sure is that Tottenham Hotspur’s forward planning appears to afford them a wealth of options.