Teachers at Kyle Walker’s secondary school have remembered how he developed from a “cheeky, skinny” 11-year-old to a “well-rounded, committed, exceptional sportsman”.
Staff and students at High Storrs School, Sheffield, say they cannot wait for Sunday’s Euro 2020 final and are sure Walker will continue to be an “inspiration”.
Eileen Hetherington, who taught the Manchester City right-back PE and was his head of year for five years, said: “During this time I watched him develop from a cheeky, skinny little Y7 into a well-rounded, committed, exceptional sportsman.
“At times school wasn’t easy for him, but he managed to overcome jealousies, resentments and friendship difficulties to succeed in a very competitive environment.”
Mr Hetherington said Walker was a brilliant 800m runner and competed for the school in athletics.
She said: “His exceptional speed transferred to the football pitch as a lightning centre forward which helped his form win the inter-form school competition for five years running. He was a talented all-round sportsman.
“I have followed Kyle’s career with pride through his World Cup representation and look forward to seeing him as the elder statesman in the European Championships.”
Ms Hetherington said: “Students talk about Kyle as a former High Storrs pupil.
“His picture and signed shirt are displayed in the PE department as a reminder to others that your dreams can be realised.
“It would be fantastic for pupils and staff to see Kyle return to High Storrs to celebrate his success.”
Another High Storrs teacher, Andria LePage, said: “He’s still an inspiration to our students.
“When we take new Year 7s on a tour around school we always go past his shirt that hangs in our PE department.
“Everybody knows who he is and students get very excited to see he studied here. He’s a legend in our school.”
And Walker’s geography teacher, Jim Lockwood, said: “I saw Kyle play in the play-off for Sheffield United and bumped into him afterwards.
“I didn’t expect him to remember me but he was really lovely and humble.
“I said to him then: ‘You’re going to sign for someone big and you’re going to go places.’ I was right.
Classics teacher Gina Johnson said: “I remember him from Classics lessons sitting right on the front row in Y8 and Y9.
“He was chatty and always gave his best in lessons. I still remember him telling me about the football trials he was undertaking at the time. I wish him all the best in the final on Sunday.”
Walker grew up in the Sharrow area of Sheffield and went to Porter Croft Infant and Junior School before attending High Storrs School, leaving in 2006.
In a statement, the school said: “We have followed the England Football Team’s success through every step and cheered on Kyle Walker at every game.
“We wish all players the very best of luck for the final on Sunday. Kyle is still an inspiration to our students and we are extremely proud to count him among our fantastic alumni.”
Other famous former pupils of High Storrs School include World Open squash champion Nick Martin and the Lucifer and Miranda star, actor Tom Ellis.