June 16, 2020 / 6:19 PM / 25 days ago

Guardiola says he will judge Walker on his on-pitch performance

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Group C - Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - November 26, 2019 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and assistant coach Mikel Arteta before the match Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Manchester City defender Kyle Walker will be judged by performances on the pitch rather than his much-publicised COVID-19 lockdown breaches, manager Pep Guardiola said on Tuesday.

Walker said last month he felt “harassed” by some of the British media after reports he broke restrictions on three occasions to visit family.

The 30-year-old England international faced disciplinary action in April after the Sun newspaper reported he had invited two women to a party at his home despite social distancing rules.

Speaking to reporters ahead of Wednesday’s home game against Arsenal, and the restart of City’s Premier League campaign after months without action due to the pandemic, Guardiola was asked whether Walker’s actions affected his chances of playing.

“I judge my players with what happens on the pitch,” said the Spaniard.

“I think Kyle made a brave statement about what happened in this period. The club spoke with him. And what I want is the best for him and especially his family. As a human being that always goes first than the football player.”

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis

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