Kieran Trippier: I knew I had to make an impact for Spurs at Watford
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
Tottenham right-back Kieran Trippier says it was important he seized his chance against Watford yesterday, given the fine form of his team-mate and rival Kyle Walker.
Spurs’ first-choice full-backs, Walker and Danny Rose, have been key men as the Lilywhites have hit top form, winning six of their last seven games and pushing into the top four, above Manchester City.
The pair have contributed a goal and three assists between them since mid-December, while Trippier and deputy left-back Ben Davies have watched on from the sidelines.
However, Walker was suspended for yesterday’s trip to Watford, giving Trippier the opportunity to make his first appearance since November 22, and his first Premier League start of the season.
The 26-year-old certainly made the most of his opening as he set up two goals for Harry Kane inside the first 33 minutes en route to a comprehensive 4-1 victory – and he admits he recognised the importance of the opportunity.
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“I’ve not played for a couple of weeks so I thought it was important I did well for the team and tried to set up a few, or just did my best,” said Trippier. “I thought I helped the team, and it was a good three points.
“I’ve had to wait and that’s because Walks has been doing really well. If you see the performances that Danny and Kyle have been putting in this season, last season and in the Euros, it’s difficult week in and week out against them because they’re both flying.
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“All I can do is keep working hard in training and just keep my head down - and when I’m called upon, like yesterday, just give my best and try to get a few assists myself.”
Pochettino opted to play with wing-backs for the third time this season against Watford, and Trippier got forward to good effect.
A clever low pass infield from the touchline created Kane’s opening goal, and a deadly half-volleyed cross then gifted his team-mate a close-range finish.
“I like playing in a 3-5-2 so I can get forward and get those early balls into the strikers,” said Trippier. “If it’s a 3-5-2 or 4-4-2, or whatever formation it is, if I’m playing I’ll make sure I try to do my best.
“I’ve practised since I was a young boy, practising crossing and set plays, so when I play I like to get as high up as I can and try to support the forwards. Luckily I’ve got two assists - I try to help whenever I’m called upon.”
Coincidentally, Trippier’s first Premier League start last season also came at Watford’s Vicarage Road at the turn of the year, when he also set up a goal – and that outing on December 28 2015 marked the start of a consistent run of games as he alternated with Walker.
History could now repeat itself as Spurs prepare to enter the FA Cup on Sunday, while attempting to maintain their momentum in the league.
Meanwhile, Trippier is adjusting to life as a parent after the birth of his first child, Jacob, at the start of December.
“I have to help my wife because she obviously lived through the pregnancy,” said Trippier. “I have to help her at times, get up and feed the baby etcetera like everybody knows. But I’ve been coming into training, still doing my hard work, working hard and fighting for my spot, so I’m delighted with my performance [against Watford].
“Some nights I’ve not slept as well as I’d like to. I need to look after my family and being a new dad, it’s an experience and I need to sort a few things out. We’ve talked about it, me and the manager. We talked about a few things and we’ll move on.”
Rose, who started opposite Trippier on the left flank against Watford, was full of praise for his colleague’s display in Hertfordshire.
“I thought he was brilliant,” said the left-back. “If there’s one thing I always say to Kieran and about Kieran it’s that his delivery is unbelievable. The ball for Harry’s second goal was no fluke. He does that every day in training and I’m over the moon for him.
“Kieran is probably one of the nicest people I’ve come across in football and for him to get his chance yesterday, it’s great that he’s taken it.
“I do feel for him a little bit, with Kyle being outstanding all season - he’s pushed on another level. It’s great that when people don’t play there are lads who can come in and are ready to take the chance. Kieran’s done that and I’m over the moon for him.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs