Tottenham Hotspur defender Kyle Walker has said that the North London derby against Arsenal in the Capital One Cup tonight (23 September) is "the type of game you become a player for". The England international believes that a win can easily be achieved if the White Hart Lane crowd get behind Spurs.
Mauricio Pochettino's side beat their London rivals at home last season, with Harry Kane scoring a brace. Walker is looking forward to a repeat of that result and is keen that new boys Son Heung-Min and Clinton N'Jie appreciate the importance of the match ahead of their first North London derby.
"They have played in derbies before for their previous clubs but I'll say to them, 'this is something special'. I've played in a good few, so I am probably one of the most experienced players at Tottenham now," he said to Standard Sport. "We have to play the game, not the occasion, and let our football do the talking. North London derbies are the type of game you become a player for. At the start of the season, you look for the Arsenal games and hope you can play in them. I scored the winner in one and I hope I can play in another winning team."
Pochettino is expected to ring the changes in his line-up amid injuries to Mousa Dembele, Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason. Walker, nevertheless, hopes to keep his place in the team ahead of summer signing Kieran Trippier despite playing the full 90 minutes against Crystal Palace at the weekend.
"Kieran is great competition for me. We played together in an Under-19 tournament for England and I know what quality he has got. I have had to up my game and improve in training," he said.
With Spurs having secured consecutive victories over Sunderland, Qarabag, and Crystal Palace, Walker has warned Arsenal that they are not to be underestimated.
"They are a good side but we have shown that we can take it to them and we just have to go out the way we have been playing and the way the gaffer wants us to and I think we can get the result," he said. "We need to be aware of their good players and show them respect but also they have to remember we are in good form now, they are coming to our patch and they have to show us the same amount of respect because we can be physical and mix it with them.
"We can beat them, especially if they don't [respect us]. But it is about as much as what we do off the ball as what we do on it. We've got the form for it at home and it always helps when you've got the crowd behind you. They are the 12th man. I know everyone says that but they are vital in derbies. We need to stick to our game plan and let Arsenal worry about coming to our patch and hopefully we will get the win the players and the fans want."