x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 23 November 2017

With Kyle Walker gone Kieran Trippier can beat down door to England team too

Kieran Trippier set for more first-team opportunities for Tottenham and maybe England following Kyle Walker's transfer to Manchester City

Kieran Trippier featured in 12 Premier League games for Tottenham Hotspur in 2016/17.
Kieran Trippier featured in 12 Premier League games for Tottenham Hotspur in 2016/17.

"When one door closes, another one opens." The quote by renown inventor Graham Alexander Bell may seem overly optimistic, the inference that learning from past mistakes will strive the brightest minds to do better. But for most followers of the man who invented the telephone, it speaks of opportunity.

Kyle Walker's transfer to Manchester City has given manager Pep Guardiola the one-man right flank he so coveted, a thoroughbred capable of running the course-and-distance multiple times with plenty always in reserve. And while he may be seen as a consolation prize after the club missed out on their prime target Dani Alves after the Brazilian opted instead to join Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer, the England international, purchased for an initial £45 million (Dh216.4m), is part of the same alumni of marauding full-backs seminal to Guardiola's plans to make City a closer version to his Barcelona team than his Bayern Munich one.

And while plenty of column inches have been dedicated to the comings and goings of two of the finest right-backs in Europe, less has been made of the opportunity presented to Kieran Trippier to fill the role vacated by Walker at Tottenham Hotspur.

Trippier, 26, spent most of last season as Walker's understudy but it was telling that for crucial Uefa Champions League matches and heated North London derbies, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino tended to turn to the former Burnley player.

That speaks volumes of the manager's trust. While Walker's speed, anticipation and aggression fulfilled many of the attributes required of the modern full-back, Trippier's passing, vision and tactical awareness make him just as valuable.

In an age where the emphasis is to build from the back - none more so than at City - the long-held belief is that it is centre-backs and goalkeepers who need to be the instigators of attacks. But few hit 80-yard defence splitting passes, and anyone playing at a Premier League level should be able to comfortably pass the ball 20 yards to a teammate. But as the most obvious out-ball by virtue of their geographical location on the pitch, more managers are increasingly looking to ball-playing full-backs. The demands placed on them then are twin pronged: as well as fulfilling defensive duties (still a pre-requisite for any defender), full-backs are expected to supply key passes and ammunition for their teammates.

From that perspective, Trippier, who along with Mousa Dembele and Christian Eriksen are the best passers in the Spurs squad, makes him if not exactly an upgrade on his predecessor then at least a viable alternative. While Walker wins hands down when it comes to taking on his opposite number, with 35 successful dribbles to Trippier's none last season, the latter made more of a contribution going forward in terms of supplying his teammates. As well as five assists, Trippier nailed seven successful crosses to Walker's 13 having played 21 games less. His crossing accuracy was 24.1 per cent, compared to 13.7 per cent for Walker. Trippier's overall passing accuracy in 12 league games was 76.6 per cent.

Trippier's elevation to first-team starter means he not only replaces Walker at club level but could also challenge the 27-time capped England player for the berth in the national team too. The path to recognition has required patience and beating down doors, but now with the most obvious obstacle out of his way, Trippier is set to flourish.