Kieran Trippier says he is ready to lead England into another deep tournament run after the Newcastle United star played a huge role in their 6-2 opening win against Iran.
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With Kyle Walker largely operating as a centre-back under Gareth Southgate, Reece James not in the squad due to injury and Trent Alexander-Arnold remaining a divisive figure defensively, Trippier looks to be first-choice at right-back in Qatar.
So crucial to England’s run to the semi-finals in 2018 and equally as important at Euro 2020, it is the third major tournament in which the former Tottenham and Atletico Madrid man features heavily. Even at 32, Trippier remains a key figure for both club and country and looked to take his Newcastle form into the World Cup.
Hailed by The Athletic‘s tactics writer Michael Cox as “probably England’s most in-form player coming into the tournament” and proving “particularly impressive from full-back”, the full-back even donned the captain’s armband when Harry Kane made way for Callum Wilson towards the end of the game.
What did Trippier say of his England performance?
Speaking to the BBC after the game, Trippier said: “There were moments in the game where we know we can improve, myself included I gave the ball away a few times. We’ve got to enjoy three points and move on to the next game.
“Winning the first game in group is always important, we wanted to be on the front foot, we were clinical in the right moments. Now we’ve got to rest, recover and focus on the next one.
“I’m 32-years-old and enjoying every game if I’m playing or not I will always be ready.”
How well did Trippier play against Iran?
According to WhoScored data, Trippier found the mark with a third – two of an attempted six – of his crosses and long balls and only Kane made more key passes (2 to 1).
Defensively, the Newcastle star led the way for tackles won (5) and ranked joint-second for interceptions (1), while also finishing joint-first for clearances (1). That certainly points to an all action display, while it was his corner that set-up England’s best chance before Jude Bellingham’s goal, with Harry Maguire hitting the bar after connecting with the cross.
FBREF data, meanwhile, notes only Bellingham played more passes into the final third (11 to 7) and no England player won more aerial duels (3).
In this kind of form, it’s difficult to see how anyone overtakes Trippier.