The sad moment that summed up Kieran Trippier's Newcastle United debut

It was a baptism of fire for Kieran Trippier at Newcastle United as his new club were knocked out of the FA Cup by Cambridge United in front of a packed St James’s Park.

Just a day after being confirmed as the first Newcastle signing under new ownership, Trippier was thrown straight into a strong starting XI to face the League One side.

On paper, it was an ideal bedding in match for the England international to get used to his new teammates and surroundings. But in reality, it proved to be a frustrating afternoon as Joe Ironside’s second half strike saw Cambridge clinch a 1-0 win.

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Prior to the match, the anticipation and excitement from the crowd was evident whenever “number 15, Kieran Trippier” was read out over the PA. It’s difficult to remember Newcastle’s last signing of this calibre.

Newcastle player Kieran Trippier reacts during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Newcastle United and Cambridge United at St James' Park on January 08, 2022 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

And Trippier got involved early on with his first touch inside the opening two minutes being met with a huge roar from the crowd.

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The 31-year-old was a clear outlet in an advanced right-back position and it took him just five minutes to register a successful cross as his ball into the box was headed over by Fabian Schar.

Trippier was also on corner duties as Newcastle applied the pressure on their third tier opponents but were unable to find a breakthrough.

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Kieran Trippier of Newcastle United challenges Joe Ironside of Cambridge United during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Newcastle United and Cambridge United at St James' Park on January 08, 2022 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

In total, Trippier delivered seven crosses into the penalty area, four of which found a black and white player who just couldn’t provide the finishing touch.

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Moments before Cambridge took the lead, Newcastle were awarded a free-kick just outside the penalty area. It was in an almost identical position to where Trippier famously netted against Croatia in the World Cup semi-final four years ago.

The expectation was palpable as the right-back stood over the free-kick. But his effort was drilled straight into the wall as Cambridge cleared the danger.

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And that pretty much summed up Newcastle’s day really. For all the hope and positivity building up to the game, it was nothing but a let down on the pitch.

But on an afternoon of poor performances, Trippier was one of the few players who could come away from the game with any credit. He kept things simple and barely put a foot wrong, albeit against third tier opposition.

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Although the few times he tried to play a clever dinked ball through, none of his teammates were on the same wavelength.

He remained vocal throughout in an attempt to organise Newcastle’s leaky defensive line.

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In the closing stages there was a heart in the mouth moment as Trippier went down holding his ankle before gingerly getting back up on his feet. Another injury would have only made a bad afternoon even worse for Howe but fortunately Trippier signalled he was okay to continue and see out the full 90 minutes.

Perhaps the saddest moment of Trippier’s debut came after the full-time whistle. As several players quickly darted down the tunnel, the new signing made an effort to get them back out on the pitch to thank the impressive home crowd.

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His efforts were ignored by his teammates as he proceeded to applaud the fans independently, it didn’t go unnoticed. Newcastle need more players like Trippier on and off the pitch, but that’s easier said than done.

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