Kieran Trippier: 'I Get Stopped in M&S These Days. That Didn’t Use to Happen'

Kieran Trippier: 'I Get Stopped in M&S These Days. That Didn’t Use to Happen'

Friday, 31 August, 2018 - 08:00
Kieran Trippier celebrates scoring his team's second goal with team mates against Fulham. (Image: Julian Finney/Getty Images)
London- Marcus Christenson
It takes a confident man to stand next to Christian Eriksen and say: “I fancy this one, mate,” when a free-kick is about to be taken, but this is exactly what Kieran Trippier can do these days. By the time the Tottenham right-back returned from the World Cup in Russia in mid-July, his life had changed completely. As one of the best performers in an England team who reached the semi-finals for the first time in 28 years, he had become a household name.

This has some disadvantages – “I get stopped in M&S these days. That didn’t use to happen,” he says with a smile – but mainly it is all positive. His confidence has rocketed and it means he can step up and take free-kicks for Spurs despite the presence of Eriksen, one of the best set-piece specialists in the world. Against Fulham last Saturday it was Trippier rather than the Dane who dispatched a beautifully curled free-kick over the wall to give Spurs a 2-1 lead – and why not? After all, only one of them has scored in a World Cup semi-final.

Trippier, however, laughs at the idea of the two of them fighting over a free-kick. “No way, I’m not like that. Fulham was my first game back and I felt good. Me and Christian, if we have a free-kick and I place it but he says he fancies it then I’ll let him take it, no problem. No problem at all. If he came up to me and said: ‘I fancy this,’ I’d say: ‘Take it, mate.’”

It was the same during the World Cup when Trippier and Ashley Young stood over most free-kicks and whoever fancied it more took it. Against Croatia in the semi-final, Trippier took the one after five minutes – and gave England the lead. “It’s a World Cup semi-final but the day before, and throughout the tournament really, there was me, Youngie, Trent [Alexander-Arnold] and a few other boys hitting free-kicks well, to be fair,” Trippier says. “Before the game we were talking – which side did we want it on? – me and Youngie. It’s all about who feels confident at that moment in time and I said: ‘I feel confident, do you mind if I take it?’ And he said: ‘No problem at all.’ I’m happy it went in but frustrated and disappointed about the result.”

For Trippier to even appear in a World Cup is remarkable, considering he has been a first-choice at Tottenham for only one season. Before that, he was Kyle Walker’s understudy, having joined from Burnley in 2015. But when Walker left for Manchester City last summer Mauricio Pochettino put his trust in Trippier – and it paid off. The former City academy player had made his senior England debut in June 2017, showing Southgate he had no problem adapting.

Representing your country is something special and particularly so when your dad is a hardcore fan. Tripper grew up seeing his father’s pain and – more rarely – joy first hand. “ Representing England makes me emotional,” he says. “From when I was very young, seeing my dad [Chris], a Manchester United fan, a mad England fan, when they are playing and watching him and his face when they are losing …

“I can remember when we played France on my debut and all I could think about was my mum [Eleanor] and dad in the crowd and how hard they had worked for all those years to get me where I am now. It is emotional, really.”

Trippier was one of four boys in the household, his dad working as a tree surgeon and his mum in the local shop. He owes them everything, he says, although they have declined the offer of a new house. “They live in Summerseat, a little council estate in Bury,” he says. “I’ve offered them to move but my mum literally walks from here to those doors and she’s in her work. She’s happy. My nan lives round the corner and all my mum’s aunties. We have all our family round there. She’s happy and that’s the most important thing.

“My dad was a tree surgeon. When I was younger he was working away five days a week for weeks on end just trying to get as much money as possible. My mum works in Londis [now a Costcutter]. It’s been difficult for them both, especially with four children, four boys as well.

“I tell them all the time [how appreciative I am]. I told them after the World Cup as well after we got knocked out against Croatia. They just said how sorry and how proud they are of me but it was a chance for me to thank them for getting me where I am, working so hard, having so many jobs when I was young. It was not easy and I thank them all the time.”

Trippier’s Tottenham travel to Old Trafford on Monday to take on Manchester United with two wins from two. The club became the first in Premier League history not to sign a player in a summer transfer window but Pochettino is confident his team are good enough to compete for honors despite the lack of additions – and he may well be right. Spurs’ is not a thin squad.

Trippier, say, faces competition at right-back not only from Serge Aurier, a £23m signing from PSG in 2017, but also from Kyle Walker-Peters. Trippier is first choice at the moment and is in no mood to relinquish it, having worked so hard to win the slot in the first place.

“Serge has come in, who is great competition, and Kyle Walker-Peters has been excellent in pre-season. He’s unbelievable and he deserves a mention because he works so hard on the training field and he deserves a lot of praise for the way he has conducted himself over the last 18 months. There are three of us trying to play in the right-back spot and that’s why you have to keep working hard, because the manager doesn’t miss a trick. If you’re off it, don’t complain if you’re not playing at the weekend.”

The World Cup, in so many ways, has helped Trippier. “You gain a lot of experience playing in a World Cup and under pressure – look at the Colombia game, for instance,” he says. “[You get] confidence, belief in yourself. I learned a lot about myself in the World Cup and I feel more mature coming off the World Cup and hopefully I can help my teammates this season.”


(The Guardian)

Editor Picks

Multimedia