Tony Cascarino has urged Kyle Walker to turn his life around quickly after the Manchester City man was caught breaching lockdown rules for a second time.
The defender issued an apology last month when it emerged he had hosted a party in his Cheshire apartment.
However, after breaking the rules again, the England international released an emotional statement on Twitter, saying he was visiting his sister and parents.
Walker said: “In relation to the events on Wednesday, I travelled to Sheffield to give my sister a birthday card and present, but also to speak to one of the few people I believe I can trust in my life.
“She hugged me to remind me that she cares and that I am loved. What am I meant to do – push her away?
“I then travelled to my parents’ house to pick up some home-cooked meals. Again, it’s been an extremely tough couple of months for them.”
It’s a testing time for Walker and Cascarino offered the player some advice going forward.
Cascarino said on Weekend Sports Breakfast: “If Kyle was with me and I was chatting with him I’d say, ‘You’re 29 now, Kyle. You’ve had an incredible career, you’ve won trophies, you’re high profile in the game… football will swallow you up and throw you out very quickly if you’re not the player you were. You can go on that slippery slope quite quickly’.
“He’s got a golden opportunity to try and turn things around because he’s going to face his football career ending in the next decade.
“Most people with health issues, even ones having problems while they’re playing, will find it even harder when they finish.
“He’s got to come to terms with that and try to change his lifestyle because that door will shut on him.
“Not being a player anymore…that is another challenge for someone that’s having difficulties now. He’s got to come to terms with that.”
Give COVID-19 the red card
The quicker we work together to stop coronavirus spreading, the sooner we can get back into the pubs, the gyms and stadiums and arenas to see live sport again…
STAY AT HOME. Only leave for the following purposes:
- to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
- to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
- for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
- to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary
For more info and tips, visit the NHS website.
The government has also issued further detail on what we can do during lockdown.
Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.
Cascarino then likened Walker to former teammate Paul McGrath, who battled issues with his mental health in his career.
He added: “In everything you do, you have to have a conscience about your decision-making.
“I don’t like to mention him in this conversation but it’s a guy that I roomed with, a guy that I spoke to many, many times – Paul McGrath.
“He clearly had health issues, not many people were aware of it but we were all aware of it in the Republic of Ireland team. Jack Charlton protected him like no other.
“Paul’s decision-making was done with no conscience. I remember having a conversation with him in a room in Hong Kong, trying to stop him going out.
“It was about three in the morning and I said to Paul, ‘You’re not going out the door, you’re going to have to go through me.’ He was literally going to take me out of the room with him if not.
“I’m trying to keep him in the room and saying to him, ‘What about your Mrs, what about your kids, Paul’ – and nothing registered with him.
“I got a real deep insight having read his book afterwards and reading about all of his difficulties growing up.
“I don’t know Kyle Walker’s background but there is something going on in his personal life that is very, very serious.
“You play for England, you play for a top club, you’ve won things, don’t be surprised if people are trying to get at you. It comes with the territory… whether you’re a musician, a footballer, a politician, whoever.”
Listen to the Tony Cascarino audio above!