‘I want a taste’ – Kieran Trippier reveals World Cup hunger following England call-up
Newcastle United right-back Kieran Trippier is hoping to go one step further at his third major tournament with England.
Trippier shone at the 2018 World Cup with England four years ago as he was named in team of the tournament and scored in the semi-final defeat to Croatia in Russia. And last year the right-back helped the Three Lions reach the final of Euro 2020, assisting Luke Shaw’s goal against eventual winners Italy.
Fuelled by the pride and ultimate disappointment of the previous two tournaments under Gareth Southgate, the Newcastle star is looking to make an impact with England in Qatar after he was named in the 26-man squad on Thursday.
“To be in the squad is always a big achievement, especially at a World Cup,” Trippier said. “I’ve been lucky enough to experience it before so, yeah, I want a taste of it again. I’m looking forward to it, I’m looking forward to meeting up with the squad like I do every camp.
“We want to go into every tournament to win. That’s a given. We know we’re up against fantastic nations but we feel we’ve got a very, very good squad to go and win the tournament. That’s got to be the mindset – a winning mindset.”
Despite the right-back position arguably being the most competitive of any in the England squad, a mixture of injuries and Trippier’s excellent form at club level for Newcastle mean he expected to be England’s first choice.
But the 32-year-old isn’t getting too far ahead of himself as he said: “There’s injuries but there’s no guarantee of starting. Reece [James] and Walks [Kyle Walker] have been out injured but I’m still against Trent [Alexander-Arnold] who is an unbelievable player and other right-backs as well, Ben White is playing very well at Arsenal so I can’t take anything for granted.
Trippier added: “I feel like I’m playing the best football of my career, certainly here and when I was at Atletico Madrid with [Diego] Simeone. I’ve learned a lot since I left there. He worked me really hard, defensively, offensively and as a person on and off the pitch.
"I think I’ve come back to the Premier League a more complete player.
"I know I’m 32 but I’m not slowing down. I’m more confident, hungrier, and going into a tournament you need to be at a good level, individually and as a collective. I certainly feel like I’m going on the back of good performances.”
On the eve of the World Cup squad announcement, Trippier got some ideal penalty shootout practice at St James’s Park as United beat Palace 3-2 on penalties in the Carabao Cup third round.
Trippier dispatched his penalty with confidence, just as he did in the World Cup last-16 shootout win against Colombia over four years ago.
“Yeah, I’m confident, I don’t feel any pressure,” he continued. “The manager knows me, he didn’t even need to ask me [to take a penalty]. If the team needs me, I’ll be ready whenever called upon.”
England head into the World Cup on the back of a six game winless run. Relegation from the Nations League saw Southgate subject to much scrutiny, but Trippier couldn’t fault the Three Lions boss.
“Gareth is a fantastic manager,” he said. “The record of a semi-final and final speaks for itself. He’s an unbelievable manager and I think he does deserve more credit. He’s taken us far in two major tournaments – for me, he’s a top-class manager.
“You can see the chemistry he wants from his team. He is massive on team bonding and I feel like he’s brought everyone – the fans, the nation – together with the players. He’s bought that unity back and he certainly deserves more respect because he’s a top-quality manager.”
Trippier heads into the tournament as the most recent England player to score at a World Cup. His early free-kick in the semi-final almost saw England through to the final only for Croatia to come from behind and secure a 2-1 win after extra-time.
It’s a memory that still pains the former Tottenham Hotspur full-back.
“There is no point to prove but we could have been 3-0 up in the first 45 minutes,” he admitted. “But it’s all about fine margins against a top team. It’s all about ifs and buts, that’s in the past – we’ve made a final and now we want to go one step further.
“It’s difficult to let go, I’m not going to lie, getting beat in a semi-final when you know you were so close. As professionals you just need to forget about it, have your rest with your families after the tournament and try and move on as quickly as possible.
"That’s long gone. We’ve all achieved things since then and now we want to put that into practice in Qatar.”
Trippier is set to lead Newcastle out in their final match ahead of the World Cup break against Chelsea at St James’s Park this Saturday (5:30pm kick-off). The domestic season will then stop until after the World Cup is concluded on December 18.
Newcastle’s first match back after the break will be in the Carabao Cup fourth round before they travel to Leicester City in the league on Boxing Day.
“It’s different, stopping the season and going into a World Cup,” Trippier admitted. “Personally I just want to play every game. It doesn’t matter to me when it is. I’m sure every nation will be ready, but we certainly will be.”