London (AFP) – Kieran Trippier approaches the European championships in a far better frame of mind having won La Liga with Atletico Madrid than earlier in the season as he served a 10-week ban for betting breaches.
The 30-year-old right-back says his renaissance is down to his club manager Diego Simeone who he believes bears similarities to England handler Gareth Southgate.
Trippier faces tough competition for right-back duties with Manchester City’s title winner Kyle Walker, Chelsea’s Champions League winning youngster Reece James and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold in the mix.
Trippier and Walker, 31, are two of only three players in their thirties named by Southgate in the provisional 33-man squad, which will be cut to 26 players for the Euros on Tuesday.
Both were stalwarts of the surprise run to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals where Trippier acquired the monniker ‘the Bury Beckham’.
Unlike the Tottenham Hotspur team-mates he left behind when he moved to Spain in 2019 he joins up with the England squad with a winners medal to his credit.
“With Gareth and Simeone, the players that don’t play he’s always out with them the next day or he’s always trying to keeping a smile on their face so they’re always feeling part of the group,” he told the Press Association news agency.
“Gareth’s brilliant at that.
“When I was in the World Cup, some players didn’t really get any minutes and they’re still training hard, they still run around happy and that comes from the managers and their staff.”
– ‘He’s crazy with me’ –
Trippier says it is not just motivating the players that the two managers share similarities although former Argentinian midfielder Simeone is a bit more expressive than Southgate.
“The style of play, tactically Gareth’s brilliant so is Simeone,” said Trippier.
“They’ve got similarities, the way they set the teams up and the way they are as characters.
“A little bit different character-wise because Simeone is just absolutely crazy, as you can see on the touchline, sprinting down the tunnel when we won the other day, but both fantastic managers.”
Trippier may be targeted by Premier League clubs in the close season but he says his move to Spain has paid off in terms of developing as a player.
“I thought it was a great opportunity for me to experience something different and to win a LaLiga in the first two years is just an incredible feeling,” said Trippier.
“I think it’s benefited me in my playing career. I feel like I’ve become a better player, a stronger player, attacking and defensively.”
Trippier says his improvement is down to Simeone and his coaching style and the loyalty the coach showed after he had served his ban.
He missed 10 games between December and March due to the English Football Association ban for breaking betting rules.
However, Simeone showed his faith by putting Trippier straight back in the Atletico team for a crunch game against Real Madrid.
“I feel a lot more experienced, especially playing for Simeone because he’s crazy with me,” he said.
“One-to-ones in training and stuff.
“He’s just drilled so much information into me in the two years that I’ve been there and I feel like I’ve taken it on board and especially this season I feel I’ve had a really good season personally.”
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