Major League Soccer

Paul Arriola names Man City & England's Kyle Walker as most difficult opponent

Lizzy Becherano
Paul Arriola labeled Kyle Walker as most difficult English opponent.
Paul Arriola labeled Kyle Walker as most difficult English opponent. / Athena Pictures/GettyImages

USMNT figure Paul Arriola has labeled Manchester City defender Kyle Walker as the 'hardest defender' to go against after facing off while the striker featured for Swansea City. 

Arriola kicked off his Premier League stint with Swansea City in 2021, securing the loan from Major League Soccer side D.C. United. The player made his debut for the team on February 10, in the 3-1 loss against Manchester City that left Arriola impacted by Walker. 

“I think the one that sticks out is Kyle Walker. I played against Kyle Walker my first game at Swansea, we were in the FA Cup. And I came in the last 20 minutes or so against Man City. And I'll tell you, he was the hardest defender to go against ever in my career, because of his athletic ability,” revealed Arriola on the latest episode of 90min's Football Americana.

“Like you get by him, he can recover. You get into a challenge and he's super strong. I'm not winning anything over to Kyle Walker. Athletically he's a monster. And technically he's also a very, very good player.”

Arriola’s time in the Premier League was short lived after suffering a quadricep injury one month into his loan spell. He faced 4-6 weeks on the sidelines, forcing him to recover back in the United States before returning to Major League Soccer. 

Now fit and available for FC Dallas and the US men’s national team, Arriola and Walker may soon play each other once again as both England and the USMNT were drawn in Group B for the 2022 World Cup,

“I think that's the one that I would love to be able to get another chance to really experience playing against him. That's the one guy that definitely sticks out for me,” added Arriola. 

The USMNT will travel to Qatar as the World Cup kicks off on November 21, running through December 18. This is a return for the American side after failing to qualify in 2018.