Soccer

Kieran Trippier happy to adapt to different roles during England’s Euro 2024 bid

The Newcastle right-back is set to deputise on the left of the defence as Luke Shaw recovers from injury.

Kieran Trippier is ready to do whatever it takes for England
Kieran Trippier is ready to do whatever it takes for England (Adam Davy/PA)

Kieran Trippier has pledged to be the ultimate team player in England’s bid to win the Euros, whether that means playing out of position, offering experience or even starting matches on the sidelines.

The 33-year-old has been part of all four of Gareth Southgate’s major tournament squads and looks set to start Sunday’s Group C opener against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen.

But right-back Trippier will line-up on the opposite side as England wait for their sole out-and-out left-back Luke Shaw to return from four months out with a hamstring injury.

“If I play, I don’t play, I play right-back, left-back, I’ll always be ready,” the Newcastle defender told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“If it’s left-back, no problem. I’ll give my best. But if I’m not playing, also the type of character that I am is that I’m always supportive of my team because ultimately (even) if you’re not playing we all want the same goal.

“We all want to win the tournament, so that’s the attitude that we need to have.

“We need to be positive, so, yeah, if I’m playing or not playing, you’re always going to get the same out of me.”

As well as facing Serbia, Trippier could well again start at left-back against Denmark – a match Southgate has suggested Shaw could be back available for.

Kieran Trippier is set to start against Serbia as left-back Luke Shaw edges closer to a return
Kieran Trippier is set to start against Serbia as left-back Luke Shaw edges closer to a return (Owen Humphreys/PA)

“Luke’s fine,” Trippier told talkSPORT. “I think he’s been with us now twice, I think, maybe on the pitch now.

“But Luke’s fine, obviously working really hard behind the scenes to get that fit.

“But, yeah, when that may be I don’t know. Again, that’s Gareth’s decision, the medics, but from a team-mate (perspective) he’s looking really good.”

Trippier says he is “not going to throw the toys of the pram” if he ends up not starting in a side whose defence has been pinpointed as a potential weak link this summer.

Questions have grown with Shaw recovering and experienced Harry Maguire out injured, with tournament first-timer Lewis Dunk this week dismissing defensive doubters.

“I agree with him,” Trippier said. “Don’t get me wrong, Harry Maguire’s vital to this team. Of course he is.

“He’s been here for so long, he’s experienced, but I don’t see how people see that our defence is a weakness.

“We’ve got Marc (Guehi), we’ve got Dunky, we’ve got Ez (Konsa), we’ve got so many quality players.

Ezri Konsa and Marc Guehi are among England centre-back options
Ezri Konsa and Marc Guehi are among England centre-back options (Nick Potts/PA)

“For me, internally, we don’t look at it like that, we don’t focus it like that. We’ve got the 26 that are here.

“But, again, that’s for people on the outside to think about, but internally we’re calm, we’re not worried.”

With Trippier set for the left-back berth and John Stones to be deployed at right centre-back, a tournament debutant will be playing between them in the other central defensive role.

It is something the Newcastle defender dealt with in their Euro 2020 opener against Croatia when he played alongside Tyrone Mings and is ready for again.

“I was just giving encouragement in the sense of ‘don’t worry what’s behind you – I’ll always cover you no matter what happens, I’ll always be behind you’,” he said.

“Just trying to be positive because it was his first game in a major tournament, so I just thought it was my responsibility playing next to him to make him feel at ease.

“’Don’t try anything that you wouldn’t do, do what got you here’ and I feel like that’s my role, is to is to help players. “

Trippier is excited by England’s strength in depth and has been impressed by the “frightening” quality of training building up to a tricky opener against Serbia.

“You can see they are physical side,” the defender said. “They’ve got players who have played in the Premier League before. They’ve got quality, I think they’ve got a new manager as well.

“So yeah, we’re expecting a difficult game. It always is at tournament football.

“We’re ready and I’m sure they will be as well. But the most important thing is focus on ourselves, be calm in the game, be patient.

“We’ve trained really well so hopefully we can put that into performance on Sunday.”