Newcastle United star Kieran Trippier has come in for special praise as he continues his superb form.
The Magpies are enjoying a fine run, now unbeaten in nine and on a run of four straight wins. Eddie Howe’s men are sticking around in the top four, continuing their excellent form with a comfortable away win over Southampton over the weekend. Almiron is taking plenty of credit, and rightly so, in superb scoring form, but one of the Magpies’ stand-out players is Trippier.
The full-back has been operating at a high level since his arrival from Atletico Madrid last season, and he has begun brilliantly. It’s good timing for the right-back, too, as he vies for place in Gareth Southgate’s England World Cup squad.
“At the minute, he’s England’s most in-form defender and for me, it’s just about where he plays in that first game for England at the World Cup in two weeks time,” Newcastle hero Alan Shearer said on Match of the Day 2. “Whether it’s at right back, right wing-back or whether it’s left-back. Because if you want someone who’s a really good defender, he’s it. If you want someone who’s going to create chances by putting very good balls into the box, he’s also it. And he’s a great leader.
“He’s been a real game changer for Newcastle with his attitude and ability, not only in just going forward but in defensive situations also. He really has been fantastic. He’s calm under pressure, doesn’t panic and the relationship he has with [Miguel] Almiron down the right hand side - it’s not coincidence that Almiron is playing his best football and it’s because of that understanding.
“When he gets the ball, he’s off. His all around game has been fantastic, it really has been amazing, and all of that today in front of the watching England manager. With the problems that England have got defensively, for me, he has to start, it’s just a matter of where he starts.”
Fellow Match of the Day pundit Micah Richards agreed with Shearer, adding: “Alan’s hit the nail on the head. He can do both. He’s comfortable in forward positions, he reads the game really well. He’s improved. I came through the academy with Trippier, and there was always a part of his game where defensively he used to get caught out of position because he used to go forward so much.
“But Alan’s shown there, his influence within this team, just the character that he has, the balls he puts into the box and the whole package that he delivers, I have to agree with Alan. Right now, he is performing at the level of one of the best.”