‘Peo­ple tell me how proud of our team the na­tion is now’

Af­ter reach­ing the World Cup semi-fi­nals, Kieran Trip­pier is hun­gry for more with Eng­land and Spurs

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Premier League - By Jason Burt CHIEF FOOT­BALL COR­RE­SPON­DENT

‘It makes me emo­tional,” says Kieran Trip­pier and it is hard not to be­gin an in­ter­view with the Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur full-back, even ahead of their huge clash with Manch­ester United at Old Traf­ford to­mor­row, without re­flect­ing on Eng­land, the World Cup and a sum­mer in which not only was a semi-fi­nal im­prob­a­bly reached but a re­con­nec­tion was made. Trip­pier was at the heart of that.

“We were happy as a team that we could help young kids get into foot­ball and just run around shout­ing play­ers’ names again. Just to see them smil­ing and happy was the most im­por­tant thing,” Trip­pier says as he ad­mits to a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence to the way he is treated post-World Cup. It is the su­per­mar­ket test.

“I was in M&S with my wife [Char­lotte] the other day,” he says. “And peo­ple were com­ing up to me. Be­fore the World Cup, they weren’t do­ing that. It’s a World Cup, it’s global, every­body’s watch­ing.”

The mem­o­ries are rich, “mind­blow­ing”, he says, and, yes, emo­tional. In Rus­sia, and when he re­turned home, go­ing back to his par­ents’ house in the same coun­cil es­tate in Sum­merseat, Bury, where he grew up – they refuse to move de­spite his suc­cess – Trip­pier had a deep sense of what the tour­na­ment meant to the na­tion.

“Ob­vi­ously, we were in our lit­tle bub­ble when we were in Rus­sia and you see stuff on so­cial me­dia of fans in the streets and so on,” he says. “But since I have come back I’ve had quite a lot of peo­ple, even back home off my mum and dad’s coun­cil es­tate, emo­tional in a way about it and I feel this team and the fans have come back to­gether, in a way, and that comes from the man­ager him­self. He dic­tates every­thing. I have had loads of peo­ple come up to me and say how well we did and how proud the whole na­tion is of our team. We over­came a lot of ob­sta­cles in that tour­na­ment – penalty shoot-outs, we had not won one of them in I don’t know how many years, knock-out games … So, I think we did our­selves proud.”

And it does make him feel emo­tional, even now as he sits at Spurs’ train­ing ground. “From 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,” the 27-year-old says. “For me, play­ing in a World Cup for Eng­land and just think­ing about it … I can re­mem­ber when we played France, my de­but [in 2017], 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. My mum and dad fully de­serve every­thing.”

Trip­pier is one of four boys – with broth­ers Chris, Cur­tis and Kelvin. The lat­ter, com­monly known by his mother’s sur­name Lo­max, went on to play for Old­ham Ath­letic and Rochdale, while Kieran, com­ing from a fam­ily of Manch­ester United fans trained with them be­fore be­ing taken on by Manch­ester City. “It was not easy [grow­ing up] and I thank them [his par­ents] all the time,” Trip­pier ex­plains. “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. My mum works in Londis [food store]. It’s been dif­fi­cult for them both, es­pe­cially with four chil­dren, four boys as well.”

Trip­pier was in a suc­cess­ful City youth team, start­ing out as a cen­tral mid­fielder, then a right winger be­fore be­com­ing a right-back. They won the Youth Cup, against Chelsea, in 2008. It was the year, of course, that City were taken over by Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Man­sour. The rest is his­tory.

“Daniel Stur­ridge, we had Vladimir Weiss, Donal McDer­mott, Dedryck Boy­ota,” Trip­pier says. “We had very good play­ers. I think maybe only two in Studge and Dedryck made it out of our group and into the first team. It’s a bit of a shame re­ally be­cause there was so much tal­ent there who, for sure, could have played in the first team but every­thing hap­pens for a rea­son, it wasn’t meant to be. So I went on loan.”

When Trip­pier re­turned from his loan spell at Barns­ley, “the money was com­ing in” at City with new sign­ings. “I went to Burn­ley, round the cor­ner, and I didn’t look back. That’s when I was play­ing in the Cham­pi­onship, play­ing with Ed­die Howe at the time and I al­ways be­lieved that I could get back to the top,” Trip­pier says.

“Ed­die Howe was good on the front foot with his teams and play­ing at­trac­tive foot­ball but [we] were let­ting in too many goals. Then Sean Dy­che came in. Sat us all down. Strict rules. I’ve got a lot to thank him for as well. And the gaffer now [Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino], he’s just un­be­liev­able the way he wants you to play and work. I love the way we play at­trac­tive foot­ball and that comes from the man­ager and I can’t speak highly enough of him.”

Trip­pier joined Spurs in June 2015 when Burn­ley were rel­e­gated from the Premier League. “I had a good chat with Sean Dy­che, I told him about where I want to be and what I want to achieve,” he ex­plains. “I didn’t think twice about com­ing to a big club. I wasn’t ex­pect­ing to come here and think: ‘This is my spot.’ I knew I had to be pa­tient. I spoke to my brother, who played foot­ball, and he just said: ‘Go for it.’ Without a doubt: Premier League club, top-four team, one of the best in Eng­land.”

Trip­pier backed him­self but had to bide his time – with Kyle Walker Spurs’ first-choice right-back. “It took me about 16-18 months to try to get the first spot at right-back,” Trip­pier says. “But every­body knows Kyle Walker was un­be­liev­able. And I knew I had to be pa­tient be­cause it’s not easy tak­ing Kyle Walker’s spot but my chance fi­nally came when he left [for City] and that’s why I’ve got to thank the man­ager. Other man­agers could have bought play­ers to go in my po­si­tion but he trusted me.”

There is a par­al­lel be­tween Trip­pier’s Spurs and Eng­land ca­reers and he has seized the chance given to him at both. “He [Po­chet­tino] al­ways had his arm round me say­ing: ‘Your chance will come.’ And I al­ways be­lieved it. That’s why I waited,” Trip­pier says and he will be a cer­tainty also when Gareth South­gate names his squad next week for the Uefa Na­tions League fix­ture against Spain and the friendly against Switzer­land.

Trip­pier had an out­stand­ing World Cup – not least for his set-piece prow­ess and scor­ing the free-kick against Croa­tia in the semi-fi­nal that took Eng­land so ag­o­nis­ingly close to the fi­nal. “It’s a World Cup semi-fi­nal but the day be­fore, and through­out the tour­na­ment re­ally, there was me, Youngie [Ashley Young], Trent [Alexan­der-Arnold] and a few other boys hit­ting free-kicks well, to be fair,” Trip­pier ex­plains. “Be­fore the game we were talk­ing – which side did we want it on? – me and Youngie so … no, but it’s about who feels con­fi­dent at that mo­ment in time and I said to Youngie ‘I feel con­fi­dent, do you mind if I take it?’ and he said ‘no prob­lem at all’ and I’m happy it went in but, ob­vi­ously, frus­trated and dis­ap­pointed about the re­sult in the end.”

Trip­pier picked up where he left off – again scor­ing a free-kick in his first match back to help beat Ful­ham last Satur­day. He even took it ahead of Christian Erik­sen.

“It’s prac­tise,” Trip­pier says. “To­day we were prac­tis­ing. That’s why I was a bit late com­ing to speak to you.”

The “Bury Beck­ham”, as he was dubbed at the World Cup, also learnt from David Beck­ham. “I used to watch him on YouTube, for ages when I was younger,” Trip­pier says who rev­els in the re­spon­si­bil­ity. “So many times. His cross­ing, the way he picked peo­ple out … his long pass­ing, his short pass­ing, his abil­ity at set-pieces, the way he moved the ball at free-kicks. He’s the one I al­ways looked up to, him and An­drea Pirlo. More Beck­ham. I’m nowhere near his level but I can try and get there.”

‘I al­ways wanted to be like Beck­ham. I am nowhere near his level but I can try and get there’

Trusted per­former: Kieran Trip­pier is now mak­ing his se­lec­tion for Spurs and Eng­land au­to­matic af­ter a string of out­stand­ing dis­plays for club and coun­try

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.