Kyle Walker has hit back at Manchester City fans for what he says is unfair criticism of his captaincy.

Walker, 33, has taken on the armband this season in the absence of Ilkay Gündogan, who joined Barcelona in the summer, and Kevin De Bruyne, who has spent the last three months recovering from hamstring surgery.

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City haven't always been at their best during the first half of the campaign and sit fourth in the Premier League table, five points behind leaders Arsenal. Despite playing a key role in the team which won the treble last season, Walker said at times he felt singled out for criticism.

"I'm always going to get heat," said Walker.

"If I'm not doing something right I'm always going to get scrutinised. That's been my whole career but it gives me the fire to keep going. You do see it and I've had a lot of criticism from the fans about me being captain and that it's all my fault.

"We're a team, we're in a team game. I feel being one of the most experienced players and the captain, I'm going to have to take that burden. It's something I'm going to have to carry on my shoulders."

Kyle Walker has worn the armband for Manchester City since Kevin De Bruyne's injury at the start of the season. Getty

Walker, who signed a new contract in the summer, is closing in on 300 games for City after joining from Tottenham in 2017.

He's won 13 major trophies at the Etihad Stadium and could win another in Friday's Club World Cup final against Fluminense in Jeddah and says some of his critics have "short memories."

The England defender also highlighted the debate over whether summer signing Jérémy Doku or Jack Grealish should start on the left for Pep Guardiola's team as an example of how football can be "fickle."

"I am getting sent it [the criticism], I get it sent," said Walker. "It's natural. I have got a mum and dad that care about me. They care about me and when their son is getting hammered. I just feel in football it's fickle, [people have] short memories, short memories.

"I remember going home in the car Jérémy [Doku] has come in, been on fire, and all of a sudden it's 'Jack Grealish should be out.' Now all of a sudden Jack scores and it's 'keep him in the club'. It is what he is. That gives me motivation. Keep hammering me and I will just keep coming back."