Soccer-England's Walker faces World Cup fitness battle after groin surgery

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v Manchester United - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - October 2, 2022 Manchester City's Kyle Walker receives medical attention REUTERS/Phil Noble

(Reuters) - Manchester City defender Kyle Walker has undergone successful surgery on a groin injury, the Premier League club said on Thursday, leaving his chances of playing for England at the World Cup hanging in the balance.

Walker, 32, picked up the injury in Sunday's 6-3 Premier League home victory over Manchester United and was withdrawn in the first half of the derby. He missed City's 5-0 Champions League victory over FC Copenhagen on Wednesday.

City did not provide a timeframe for Walker's return but the right back, a crucial part of England's set-up under manager Gareth Southgate, is now in a race against time to be fit to start in their World Cup opener against Iran on Nov. 21.

"As players we have to appreciate injuries are part and parcel of the game we love. My operation on Tuesday was a success and now I can concentrate on my rehab and getting back to full fitness," Walker wrote on Twitter.

He has 70 caps and was a key member of the teams that reached the Euro 2020 final and 2018 World Cup semi-finals.

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru)

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