REPINO, Russia (Reuters) - England full back Kieran Trippier is hoping his familiarity with Tottenham team mate Harry Kane — and his deadly crossing ability — can deliver World Cup success for England.
The 27-year-old attacking right back is expected to start England’s opening Group G game against Tunisia on Monday and his ability to whip in dangerous crosses could be crucial for Gareth Southgate’s team.
“I have a good relationship with H,” Trippier told Reuters, when asked about his connection with Kane.
“But it is not about picking a player out, it is about putting the ball in the dangerous areas, because players like H and the other attacking players here, they know their instincts, they know where the goal is.
“I train with them every day and I think they know where I am going to put the ball,” he said.
Bury-born Trippier is a product of Manchester City’s youth system but found his route to first=team football blocked by Argentine international Pablo Zabaleta and in 2012 moved to the Championship with Burnley.
He helped the Clarets win promotion to the Premier League but after they were relegated back down to the second tier in 2015 he joined Tottenham Hotspur.
At Spurs, Trippier had to fight for regular minutes but after England team mate Kyle Walker moved to City, he found a starting place in Mauricio Pochettino’s side more regularly.
But while his journey to the international stage has been tough, one constant in his career has been his quality crossing — a skill he has constantly honed.
“I worked on it a lot with my old coach Steve Eyre and practised for hours at Platt Lane in Manchester when I was at City. Even now, because it is an important part of my game, I try to do as much as I can to try to help my team mates,” he said.
It was during his four seasons at Burnley though where Trippier’s ability to deliver an inviting ball, early, into the path of a striker, first came to wider attention.
During the Clarets’ promotion campaign in 2014 he produced 14 assists, a high number for a defender and it is a feature that has remained part of his game at the higher level — last season he had 11 assists in all competitions for Spurs.
“I got quite a lot of assists there. I worked a lot with (Burnley manager) Sean Dyche, he worked a lot on my defending and my attacking, I think it kicked off from Burnley really,” he said.
Now settled into England’s coastside training camp ahead of their Group G campaign, Trippier is upbeat about the team’s chances.
“Everyone knows what Harry Kane is all about, he’s a great goal scorer and a great professional,” he said on Thursday.
“But if look all round this team we’ve got winners, we’ve got goals all around the pitch and not just Harry. We have a strong forward line – pace, youth – and all the boys are looking forward to getting out there,” he said.
“He’s a great leader, on and off the field, a top professional. Even off the field just speaking to him one to one. He’s a great person - if you ever need help he’s there for you as an individual or a group,” added Trippier.
Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Ed Osmond