Anton Walkes opens up on Atlanta United exit & his future with Charlotte FC

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Exclusive – As Atlanta United released their list of unprotected players for the MLS Expansion Draft, Anton Walkes was relaxing at home, completely unaware of the huge upheaval ahead for his professional career and family life.

The English center-back was fresh from a career year in 2021 – his second back at the club following his return from EFL club Portsmouth – logging the most appearances (33) and minutes (2,773) of any Atlanta player in 2021.

Walkes even captained the team on four occasions and figured in the top three for a number of key defensive metrics. And yet, his name did not figure among the 12 players protected from Charlotte FC’s grasp by Atlanta United.

“When I found out I’d been left unprotected for the Expansion Draft, it came as a surprise because we’d been talking long-term about staying in Atlanta,” Walkes recalls in an exclusive interview with 90min. “Within the space of a week, I’m kicking back and relaxing then my phone is going off saying I wasn’t protected. It hurt a bit but I realized after that I’d be getting picked up.”

He added: “When you’re sitting at home and find out over Twitter that you’re being taken by another team, it’s not an ideal situation to be in when you’re trying to plan a long-term future for your family.”

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