Opinion: Why it was a mistake for Spurs to sell Kieran Trippier

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Since leaving Spurs in the summer of 2019, Kieran Trippier has gone on to become a regular starter in an Atletico Madrid side that currently sits top of La Liga.

Trippier notably played a part in that incredible Champions League run under former boss Mauricio Pochettino. This was the journey during which they fell short at the final hurdle, losing out to Liverpool in the final.

At the time, most Spurs fans failed to recognise any notable quality that Trippier brought to the side that made them regular top four finishers.

Only since his departure have some begun to question the lack of dynamism in the current Spurs setup under Jose Mourinho.

One feature that Trippier particularly thrived in was his crossing and passing ability. In his four years at the North-London club, he accumulated 24 assists in all competitions (transfermrkt).

His replacement, Matt Doherty, has certainly failed to live up to expectations of the Tottenham hierarchy. Having featured only 15 times in the league during the 20/21 campaign, he has failed to establish himself as a favourite under Mourinho (transfermrkt).

This has fans questioning Daniel Levy’s decision to part with Trippier for just £20 million.

Trippier almost made himself a hero at the World Cup in Russia in 2018, scoring ‘that’ free-kick against Croatia in the semi-final.

Set pieces are another area in which Spurs have struggled in recent times. Harry Kane seems to be the designated set-piece specialist but has not converted a single effort this season.

The fact that Trippier has integrated himself into one of the most robust and well-organised defences in Europe leaves us questioning whether his sale was a good idea.

Continuously, Trippier’s range of passing could well have flourished under the counter-attacking football that is played at the club.

The tactical approach of dropping deep and absorbing pressure, before springing an attack and catching the opposition off guard, would have played to Bury boy’s strengths.

He has the ability to pick out a long ball and find his man anywhere on the pitch. This will have benefitted the likes of Heung Min Son, Gareth Bale and Harry Kane.

Trippier’s quality is clearly recognised by England manager Gareth Southgate, who consistently utilised the full-back in his national squads. He is clearly favoured over players such as Trent Alexander Arnold, who did not even make the recent squad.

Furthermore, characters such as Doherty and Serge Aurier provide moments of rash judgement and defensive errors. Trippier was, for the most part, consistent in his defensive work. He even admitted that during his last season for the club, he was playing through an injury, which was limiting his performance on the field.

Trippier has also performed at the highest level for Atletico. Notably in the Champions League, which he has played regularly in over the last two years.

The indifferent attitude towards the departure of the former Burnley player suggests that there was nothing special about the Englishman. However, when a player goes unnoticed like this, it usually suggests that he provides consistency and does his job. Similar to Hojbjerg in the current Spurs team.

Since his move to Spain, Spurs have failed to upgrade the right-back position. It really makes you question the thinking why the board decided to sanction the move.

Doherty was not brought in until the summer of 2020. Before this, the board did not even replace Trippier, so the club were left a right-back short.

To conclude, Kieran Trippier would arguably be a better option than Matt Doherty based on his current form. As well as this, he would suit our style of play and offer some much-needed competition for places.

Should Trippier continue to flourish in Madrid, and go on to win the title there, it will leave a very sour taste in the mouths of those who wanted him out. Seemingly success is wherever Spurs isn’t, as many ex-players are finding out.

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