Final Exams: Anton Walkes

The Englishman slowly emerged as a key component in Atlanta’s starting lineup.

Anton Walkes’ loan move from Tottenham Hotspur took some time to bear fruit as the young Englishman struggled for game time at the start of the season.

After slotting in at right back midway through the season, Walkes became an integral part of Atlanta United’s success as the season progressed. The 20-year-old quickly grew in confidence once given a run of games and earned plenty of deserved praise along the way.

Position: Right-back

Games: 23

Goals: 2

Pass accuracy: 78.8%

Best unbeaten streak when starting: 6 games.

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at Atlanta United FCBrett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

What went right this season

While we mentioned Walkes’ slow start, including an own goal on his debut for the club, he broke into the starting lineup in mid-June and didn’t look back. Walkes slotted in at right-back and made the position in his own, occasionally offering support in attack and improving defensively each game.

Atlanta went on a six-game unbeaten run after Walkes made his debut against the Colorado Rapids on June 25th and lost just twice in Walkes’ 18 starts in all competitions.

What he could improve on

A natural center back, Walkes was forced to replace Tyrone Mears as a fullback this season and while he did enjoy plenty of success on the right-hand side, the Englishman could improve in a few areas. His positioning saw him struggle, despite showing signs of improvements as the season went on. With a new role comes new responsibilities, and it was clear on a few occasions that Walkes was still adjusting to his new position at right-back.

What is his role next season?

The Englishman’s future looks to be back with Tottenham Hotspur, despite a successful loan with Atlanta. He signed a new deal with the Premier League side back in September, but nothing has been said on whether he’ll return to Atlanta for another loan spell. For now, we can assume that he won’t be around next season and we won’t get to see year 2 of his “bromance” with Brandon Vazquez.

Overall player rating: B