Kieran Trippier delivers ‘best in the world’ verdict on Newcastle United transfer target

Kieran Trippier could face stiff free-kick competition from one of his England team-mates should they both be on the pitch at the same time during the World Cup in Qatar.

Since Trippier signed for Newcastle in January 2022, no player in the Premier League has scored more direct free-kicks. The England right-back has found the net three times with free-kicks against Everton, Aston Villa and Manchester City.

While no other Premier League player has scored more direct free-kicks than Trippier, there is one player who has also found the net three times over the same period.

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Leicester City’s James Maddison is the only Premier League player to have scored more than one free-kick in the league so far this season. He also scored a free-kick at home to Brentford last season.

Newcastle United's English defender Kieran Trippier celebrates after the final whistle of the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Chelsea at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on November 12, 2022. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Maddison’s form for Leicester saw him called-up to the England squad alongside Trippier for the World Cup in Qatar.

And Trippier, who famously scored a free-kick in the World Cup semi-final defeat against Croatia over four years ago, revealed there is no designated free-kick taker in the England squad as it stands.

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“He’s probably one of the best in the world [at free-kicks], Madders,” Trippier said. “If we’re both playing and he wants a free kick, we’ll just have to do rock, paper, scissors on the pitch!”

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Maddison has been the subject of serious transfer interest from Newcastle this season after the club saw two bids rejected by Leicester over the summer. The Foxes were understood to be holding out for a £60million fee for the 25-year-old in the summer though that figure may rise further given the attacking-midfielder’s impressive start to the season.

In 13 league matches, Maddison has contributed seven goals and four assists for Leicester. And Trippier believes the one-time England international fully deserves to be heading to the World Cup.

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“When you see Madders put up photos of when he was a young kid [supporting England],” Trippier said on an England zoom conference. “He’s proud of probably the challenges he’s had in his whole career and what he’s sacrificed to make a major tournament, so full credit to him because he absolutely deserves it.”