Coventry City confirmed the signing of 23-year-old centre forward Tyler Walker last month, making the former Nottingham Forest youngster the cub’s seventh arrival of the summer. Walker joins the Sky Blues from Midlands and Championship rivals Forest, where he spent over a decade as an academy prospect.
Writing on social media following his departure, Walker said: “As a kid I always dreamed of playing in Forest’s first team and I’m proud to say that I achieved that.
“I owe a massive thank you to everyone who has helped me over the past 15 years, the players I’ve played with, the staff who’ve coached me, and to all the fans who’ve supported along the way.
“Nottingham Forest has been a huge part of my life; I’ve met people and made friends there that will last a lifetime.”
Walker departs the City Ground after falling out of favour under head coach Sabri Lamouchi, joining the Sky Blues to provide striking competition to Matt Godden and Max Biamou.
Who is Tyler Walker?
Walker made his professional debut during the 2014/15 season, making seven appearances in the Championship before being loaned to League One outfit Burton Albion the following year. Walker made a further 33 appearances for Forest, spending loan spells away from the club with Stevenage Town, Port Vale, Bolton Wanderers, Mansfield Town, and Lincoln City.
Walker’s season-long loan with the Stags helped to launch his career. The former England youth international scored 22 goals in 44 league appearances for Mansfield, leading David Flitcroft’s side to a fourth-placed finish in League Two.
Walker’s fine form in the fourth tier was rewarded with an opportunity in League One under the tutelage of newly-installed Lincoln manager Michael Appleton. Walker scored 14 goals in 29 league appearances, earning him a place in Forest’s 2019/20 Championship squad.
Walker played a bit-part role under Lamouchi last season, scoring in Forest’s 2-0 win over Leeds United in February. The arrival of prolific forward Lyle Taylor spelt the end of Walker’s time in the east Midlands, resulting in his transfer to Coventry.
City manager Mark Robins has admitted that the Sky Blues had been interested in signing Taylor for a number of years, adding: “We’re delighted to announce the signing of Tyler.
“As his goalscoring record shows, he’s a striker with great ability who really tests and stretches defences and is a fantastic signing for the Club.
“We’re really pleased to get this significant transfer completed, and are looking forward to working with him.”
What should Sky Blues fans expect from Walker?
Walker made his debut for England U20s in 2015, scoring a brace in a 5-0 win over the Czech Republic. The Englishman’s solitary international goals are indicative of his style of play. Walker, who stands at 5’10”, has sufficient pace to stretch the pitch laterally, often playing looking to beat the offside trap.
Against the Czech Republic, Walker notched his first effort from a corner – using his frame to win an aerial duel in the penalty area. His second goal is more emblematic of his style, Walker raced behind the Czech defence to slot a low shot beyond the reach of Martin Otahal.
Walker’s style of play had become more pronounced by the time that Mansfield faced Accrington Stanley in the Carabao Cup in August 2018. The Stags loanee netted a hattrick in a 6-1 win over Stanley, scoring twice from the penalty spot in the space of 13 minutes.
Walker received huge praise for his role in Mansfield’s win from Flitcroft, who said in his post-match remarks: "I’m delighted for Tyler that he’s got a hat-trick. He’s just pure class. The kid is pure class.
“He’s not like an academy player. He gets up, he’s robust, he wants to run and I just love working with him."
Sky Blues supporters should expect Walker to continue to display the traits that have defined his career thus far. He will provide a clear contrast to Godden, who prefers to operate as an out-and-out poacher, rather than as a defence-stretching forward.
Coventry’s summer signings have an average age of 22.4, indicating that the club has supported Robins’ desire to build a young, hungry squad ahead of the Sky Blues’ Championship return. Walker has all the hallmarks of a 10-goal Championship forward, and will be expected to rival Godden throughout the upcoming season.
Walker’s debut could come in City’s Carabao Cup clash against MK Dons on Saturday 5 September, with Coventry beginning their Championship campaign a week later with a trip to Bristol City.