Walker tapped up by Sheffield United but homecoming for Man City defender remains some way off

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder has joked about tapping up Manchester City defender Kyle Walker regarding a possible return to his roots.

The England international is a product of the Bramall Lane academy system.

He took in only seven senior appearances for the Blades before being snapped up by Tottenham, with just one full season spent with the club on loan in 2009-10.

As a Sheffield native, Walker has never shied away from the fact that he would like to head home at some point.

Wilder has the Blades back in the Premier League at present and admits he would love to have a proven performer at his disposal.

He is, however, aware that Walker, who will not turn 30 until May, is in no rush to turn his back on a trophy-chasing spell at the Etihad Stadium.

"He's one I would take and I think the world of him," Wilder told reporters ahead of a meeting with Walker and City on Tuesday.

"I'm sure we'll be able to find a role for him when he decides to leave Manchester.

Kyle Walker, Man City

"I tried to tap him up when we played City but he said he's got another couple of years playing there.

"He's a top player and he's already said he wants to finish what has been a brilliant career back at Sheffield United. Don't count against it.

"He's got my number and he knows he can phone me anytime. He's still a top performer in the best league in the world. He's welcome back here anytime.

"A number of ex-players come back to watch us when they have the opportunity, like Kyle and Harry Maguire.

"With some clubs' ex-players, I get the feeling they don't want the current crop to do well because they want to be remembered in a really good light as possibly the best players and the best teams.

"But I never hear that here. The former players are real supporters of the football club. I believe they're enjoying watching us play and seeing our progression over the last three years to the Premier League."

Sheffield United have been a surprise package in their first season back in the big time, with Wilder – who oversaw a 1-1 draw at Arsenal last time out – seeing his side sat seventh in the Premier League table.