The curious case of Tyler Walker - the ex-Nottingham Forest, Coventry and Lincoln star going down in Portsmouth history for all the wrong reasons

It was in the 55th minute against Cheltenham when the death knell of Tyler Walker’s underwhelming Pompey stay sounded.

Monday, 2nd May 2022, 4:00 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd May 2022, 4:26 pm

The ball broke free outside the Robins’ penalty area, helpfully travelling in the striker’s vicinity, who proceeded to amble towards it with startling lethargy.

Capitalising on the low-octane moment, a Cheltenham player swooped, seizing possession to stride forward unopposed and launch an attack which resulted in Matty Blair’s goal-bound shot striking the back of Ryan Tunnicliffe.

Admittedly, a regretful Walker had attempted to give chase upon realisation of his misjudgement, yet it was too late.

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The Coventry attacker was substituted for George Hirst just 14 minutes later in April’s 1-0 defeat – and never played for Pompey again.

Indeed, it was a damning indictment of his Pompey performances that the club’s top earner spent the final six matches of the campaign as an unused substitute.

Walker was supposed to drive an assault on the play-offs during the second half of the League One season, his £7,000-a-week salary reflected that importance.

Instead, he proved to be one of the most disappointing loan recruits in Pompey memory – to the point where the manager declined to use him.

Tyler Walker scored once in 15 outings during a disappointing Pompey loanee. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

It’s difficult to accurately gauge the quality of a 25-year-old who arrived at Fratton Park armed with an encouraging goal record, which included netting in the Championship.

For Walker was so anonymous, his displays so inconsequential, that few can possibly, with great conviction, pinpoint his footballing deficiencies.

During the ex-Nottingham Forest man’s early days of a forgettable loan, Cowley branded him a ghost, in reference to a purported habit of appearing from nowhere to score.

‘Ghost’ sums Walker up quite nicely during 15 Blues outings in which he was barely visible, albeit admittedly failed to scare opposition defences.

There was one goal, an angled finish from two yards against a Crewe goalkeeper already grounded after saving Sean Raggett’s initial shot in a March encounter.

It was not the fact he wasted countless glorious opportunities in promising penalty area positions, that was never the case. He simply was never involved in anything of note, not even a booking.

Certainly Walker’s body language reflected poorly, giving the impression he wasn’t interested. His was a lackadaisical on-pitch presence, portraying a figure lacking passion and a willingness to get involved.

Quite the contrast to the approach of the swashbuckling Aiden O’Brien, who breezed in during the same window and swiftly established himself as a fans’ favourite with his strong-running and commitment.

Of course, we may be doing Walker a disservice, wildly mis-reading his playing persona or unaware of other issues impacting upon his displays. For such ignorance, I apologise.

However, you can only judge what you see. After all, Ryan Bird was prolific at Burnham, John Marquis plundered aplenty at Doncaster, while Walker came to Pompey with 67 career goals in 210 outings.

As ever, sometimes moves just don’t work out.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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