Tottenham's Kyle Walker-Peters boosted by mature display at Barcelona
Tottenham's Kyle Walker-Peters says he overcame the toughest mental challenge of his career so far at the Camp Nou last week.
The 21-year-old full-back made only his second start of the season in the decisive Champions League showdown with Barcelona and suffered a nightmare start, losing the ball to Ousmane Dembele to score in the seventh minute.
But he was pleased with his reaction in a game Spurs went on to draw 1-1, which was enough to put his team into the round of 16. And, as Tottenham now prepare to visit North London rivals Arsenal in Wednesday's Carabao Cup quarterfinal, he believes he can handle anything.
"I learnt a lot about myself," Walker-Peters told ESPN FC. "Two seconds after making the mistake I was thinking to myself, 'Make sure you don't die on the pitch.' But I think I went on to actually play quite well.
"I think I've got a good amount of mental toughness to be able to do that, but it's a learning curve for me.
"Was that the biggest mental hurdle I've had to overcome so far? Definitely. Especially in the Champions League, in a stadium like that against such a good team, to be able to look past that [was positive], with the help of my teammates.
"Straight away Danny Rose came straight over to me and said, 'Keep going.' Harry Kane as well, he said a few things to me. As we went to take the kick-off he said, 'Just keep going. There's plenty of time.' That gave me confidence and I think that's why I then went on to actually play quite well.
"Do I feel ready for anything now? Definitely. It's always going to happen once in your career. Now it's happened I feel like I know how to deal with it. If it ever happens again -- touch wood it doesn't -- I'll know how to respond."
Pochettino has stated that he has no intention of loaning out Walker-Peters, who has just signed a new contract through to 2023, and that the academy graduate has become one of his "best options."
Walker-Peters is now hoping to get another chance to impress against Arsenal.
"If I get the opportunity, of course I'd be buzzing to play in the North London derby," he said. "I saw another young player do it a few weeks ago -- Juan [Foyth] -- and he did really well.
"All I can do is appreciate [what the manager's said about me]. That starts on the training pitch, just showing him every day that I'm willing to keep working, keep improving. But those words from the gaffer always help you, especially as a young player, hearing your manager has faith in you.
"This year, maybe with a bit of luck, I would have played more. But [in 2019] I'll look to kick on and keep playing well."