Monday 25 September 2017

Happy camper Kieran Trippier enjoying friendly Kyle Walker rivalry

Tottenham's Kieran Trippier, pictured, is happy to be both friend and rival to Kyle Walker
Tottenham's Kieran Trippier, pictured, is happy to be both friend and rival to Kyle Walker

Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker may be battling for the same shirt with Tottenham and England but there is no tension between the pair, who were happy to share a tent on the Three Lions' military boot camp.

Walker was already first-choice right-back for club and country when Trippier swapped Burnley for Spurs two years ago, a move that immediately pitched the pair into battle.

For most of the time Walker has come out on top but Mauricio Pochettino favoured Trippier in big games against Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United towards the end of last season and that was enough to catch the eye of England boss Gareth Southgate.

That puts them head-to-head in a new dressing room but they remain fast friends and teamed up when England were whisked away to the Royal Marines' training centre in Devon for 48 hours of demanding exercises over the weekend.

"Me and Walks were the only ones to get our tent the wrong way round," said Trippier with a smile.

"It was getting a bit too dark so we didn't have time to put it back round...it was already up so we thought 'we may as well just sleep in it'. He doesn't snore...he's a good sleeper!

"Walks is a good lad, a good friend."

That friendship started all the way back at England Under-17 level, when Walker was still a central defender and Trippier had the right-back role to himself, and shows no sign of strain despite their professional ambitions.

"I know we both play the same position but it is football and whoever plays, we are always there for each other," said Trippier.

"We always help each other, no matter who we play against, and it will be no different with England. I want to play and he wants to play but if he plays, I'll help him. If I get picked, I know he will do the same for me.

"I believe I can play at this level."

Trippier spent his formative years at Manchester City, who picked him up as a nine-year-old, but that did not stop him looking at their closest rivals for inspiration.

Southgate has already spoken about his crossing ability being among the best in the Premier League and Trippier said it was David Beckham's famed delivery that grabbed him as a boy.

"He has been one of my idols and I have always practised since I was a young boy at City," he said.

"I always practise in training at Tottenham and if I can create and assist as many goals as I can I will be happy.

"I don't spend too long. just get a couple of mannequins and practise, either dead balls or running on to it."

For all of his skills, Beckham did not have much to teach an aspiring full-back about the art of defence, but Trippier was taking tips from another Red Devils great.

"Gary Neville, I liked watching him," he said. "He was a very good defender and he was great going forward as well. I have always watched how he defends and how he plays.

"He was my main person to watch as a full-back."

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