Kieran Trippier the system signing

The arrival of Kieran Trippier at Spurs is another wise move to fit our system, further highlighting the good work of Paul Mitchell.

Right back was a seriously problem for Spurs last season without the often-injured Kyle Walker. Several players had a go at standing-in, but none of them had the required speed or athleticism to play the position in the way that Mauricio Pochettino desires.

Cue a move for Kieran Trippier. Not the big name some would’ve expected us to be chasing, nor the high profile player having been relegated with Burnley. But Trippier is a guy that fits the requirements for our system. Plus, at 24 he is also in the age band that we are trying to recruit in, so as to develop a core of good, young, talented players.

The reasons that Paul Mitchell would’ve identified Kieran Trippier as a good fit for our system fall in to five categories.

1. Athletic ability

Mauricio Pochettino requires his players to be excellent athletes. The double training sessions and hard fitness work done in preseason aren’t just for show. This was the main reason we went from covering an additional 7 kilometres per match last season under the Argentine compared to Tim Sherwood’s time in charge. The team became much more athletic and improved its stamina as a result and we started to score more goals in the dying minutes of matches.

When scouting for players, endurance and physical conditioning are pre-requisites for the men in the full back positions. Kieran Trippier would’ve popped up on the radar as his Burnley side clocked the most kilometres per game of any Premier League team last season.

2. Durability

Athletic ability and in-game stamina are vital, but so too is durability to play regularly over the course of a season. Given the up-tempo nature that Pochettino wants to play at and the number of games we will face competing in four competitions, having a fit squad available to choose from is important.

Kieran Trippier has missed just 6 league games in the last four seasons, highlighting just what a durable player he is. This is significant given how much time Kyle Walker has missed in that period.

3. Excellent crosser

Mauricio Pochettino requires that his full backs are not just athletes but also good crossers of the ball.

With wide players that are looking to come inside, the full backs need to overlap them and provide crossing support. This was often where those standing-in at the right back position fell down last term. Eric Dier and Vlad Chiriches looked like centre backs playing the position, whilst Kyle Naughton was too cautious and inhibited in his forward movement.

Our last match of the season highlighted this problem. Eric Dier delivered a peach of a cross for Harry Kane to nod home, but he did it from an extremely deep position.


Dier crosses from deep for Kane to score.

It’s testament to Dier’s crossing ability that he could deliver such a ball in. However, continuously attempting crosses from deeper positions makes it harder to achieve a regular service for the centre forward. Dier’s previous crossing assist before the Everton game came away at Southampton, where he delivered the ball from another deep position. Again, showing his skill to put the ball in, but once more, not from a regular high success rate location.


Dier crosses from deep for Lamela to score.

In Kieran Trippier, we’ve not only brought in a more athletic player, but also one that lead the Premier League in crossing amongst full backs.

Trippier’s 234 crosses from open play was the most attempted by any full back, ten more then Hull’s Ahmed Elmohamady.

But what are attempts without accuracy?

Well, only two full backs bettered his 25% completion percentage from open play. Ryan Bertrand (26%) and Alan Hutton (27%) were the only more accurate full backs that had at least 10 completed crosses in the Premier League last season.

Compared to our other players that have played full back, Kieran Trippier also stands up extremely well for not only volume of crosses in open play, but also completion.

Total open play crossesSuccessful open play crossescompletion (%)
Kieran Trippier2345925%
Danny Rose891921%
Eric Dier471021%
Kyle Walker31516%
Ben Davies28414%

We had a first-hand look at Kieran Trippier when we travelled to Turf Moor at the end of last season. The former Burnley man was a constant threat delivering not only a large volume of crosses, but also from positions high up on the right side.


Kieran Trippier crosses, Burnley 0-0 Spurs.

It is this ability to get forward in to advanced locations beyond his wide player and deliver good quality balls in to the box that Mauricio Pochettino requires from his full backs.

4. Switching play

Those who read my breakdown of Toby Alderweireld will know all about how important being able to switch the angle of attack is to Mauricio Pochettino. Moving the ball from one side to the other in the shortest possible time to stretch and move the opposition about is something our coach did well when in charge at Southampton. It is a factor that frustrated us much of last season, as the slow ball movement saw us struggle to break down sitting teams, especially at home.

In Kieran Trippier, we’ve signed a player that has the ability to move the ball over distance to alter the angle and focus of play. Take his performance against us in the match at Turf Moor once again, as he pings the ball from his right back slot over to advanced positions out on the other wing.


Kieran Trippier switches of play, Burnley 0-0 Spurs.

This, as it was with Toby Alderweireld, would’ve been another reason why Paul Mitchell would’ve scouted Kieran Trippier and why he fits our system.

5. Defending in both halves

Full backs are important going forward in Mauricio Pochettino’s system, but they also need to be able to defend. This is not just in their own half, but also to be a first wave of pressing when caught high up the pitch.

Kieran Trippier has the engine on him to get up and down the line, and as we saw when we played Burnley, to defend in both halves of the pitch. We can see how he makes interceptions and tackles in our half of the field, but also up and around the halfway line. Back towards his own box he is able to tackle and clear danger.


Tackles (crosses), Interceptions (diamonds), Clearances (circles). Aerial Duels (arrows), Fouls (black triangles).

Mauricio Pochettino has a history of developing good two-way full backs. Luke Shaw, Callum Chambers and Nathaniel Clyne were all brought on under his tutelage at Southampton, whilst Danny Rose enjoyed a bounce back season under his guidance last term. In Kieran Trippier he has another good prospect that requires some polishing and coaching, but has the potential to be added to that list.

Kieran Trippier the system signing

Signing a 24-year old that ticks a large number of boxes for what we require in our system is good business. Kieran Trippier is athletic, durable and an excellent crosser of the ball, whilst possessing sound defensive ability. His arrival for just £3.5 million represents not only great value, but also a player that fits in with what Mauricio Pochettino wants from our side.

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21 Responses to Kieran Trippier the system signing

  1. Al 13th July 2015 at 6:19 pm #

    Great article yet again! You wrote a lot about his strength but at £3.5 he must have some weaknesses too. Would you mind commenting on those too? Thanks

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 13th July 2015 at 6:51 pm #

      Hi Al, a low price doesn’t always indicate weaknesses. He only had 2 years to run on his current deal and the last contract he signed had a £3.5 million release clause written in to it, so we just activated it. For me personally he is a good signing, but his weaknesses do lie in an average ability in the air – bigger centre forwards try and pull on to him at the back stick in order to outjump or outmuscle him, this is a problem for many full backs though. He can also foul or miss-time tackles, but this should improve under Pochettino’s coaching.

  2. Ben 13th July 2015 at 6:33 pm #

    Good article – and I agree with a lot of the points you’ve made. I know a lot of fans are a little underwhelmed with Trippier, but I think he could prove to be an absolute bargain. The reaction of Burnley fans and supporters said it all, really – consistent opinion seemed to be that losing Trips was a much bigger blow than losing Ings. As you say…ticks all the boxes, including a low transfer fee to allow us to invest more elsewhere.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 13th July 2015 at 6:55 pm #

      Bang on and a five year deal echoes that we think he’s worth siging up for the long term.

  3. Jan Vertiginous 13th July 2015 at 7:42 pm #

    I’ve already got my Trippier shirt, look!

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 14th July 2015 at 12:22 pm #


  4. Paul Johnson 13th July 2015 at 7:46 pm #

    Excellent as always. I’d contend we had problems at RB in most matches to a greater or lesser extent, even when Walker was playing. I thought he was a serious weak point & looked half the pre-injury player. Dreadful positionally & wreckless going forward. Many goals down his side whilst he was AWOL.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 14th July 2015 at 12:26 pm #

      Great comment Paul. Walker’s health is a concern and being out for long periods has affected his game. How much the injuries have taken their toll on him is a factor behind this move and one of the reasons we brought in Alderweireld as well. We also have Yedlin as back-up should everything go wrong! After last season, Pochettino does not want to be short in the full back areas again as these players are arguably the most important in his system.

  5. Zaph Mann 13th July 2015 at 8:35 pm #

    But what about Yedlin? Surely he’s ready given his international career’s well underway.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 14th July 2015 at 12:27 pm #

      I’ve heard a few rumours he’s going out on loan, but the depth chart at the minute has Walker, Trippier and Alderweireld ahead of him.

  6. Mike J 14th July 2015 at 7:56 am #

    Because both Trippier and Alderweireld are relatively weak in the air – do you think it likely that (as opposed to much speculation) Fazio will be retained as a centre back… so as to be brought in for those teams that are particularly strong in the air (at the front)?

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 14th July 2015 at 12:33 pm #

      Good question Mike. I think signing Wimmer was the reason to solve that problem. Sadly, i think Fazio’s days are numbered. Against aerially strong teams we could well see Alderweireld alongside Bentaleb in midfield with Vertonghen and Wimmer as centre backs (or potentially Dier also). Or, if Pochetino wants to get three centre backs on the field, then Alderweireld at RB with Wimmer (or Dier) and Vertonghen as centre backs. Either way i think Wimmer was brought in to replace Fazio and Dier will progress past him also.

      • anotherwisemonkey 15th July 2015 at 6:20 pm #

        Very interesting points about the flexibility of the squad. Are you able to pull up some stats to do a straight comparison of Walker vs Trippier?

        • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 16th July 2015 at 3:27 pm #

          Sure, what type of stats are you interested in?

          • anotherwisemonkey 16th July 2015 at 7:04 pm #

            I’d love to see a straight comparison over a period of games when each player was in form- I don’t think it would be fair to use Walker’s stats from last season. The usual stats, from tackles and interceptions to take-ons and crosses that found their target: so we could compare Walker in form with Trippier in form before we see them duke it out this season.

            • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 17th July 2015 at 3:06 pm #

              Hi Chris, I don’t think it is fair to measure stats between the two players like this for a number of reasosns. Firstly, as you say, form plays a part. Secondly, they were both playing for different teams. Walker, when avaiable, for a top six side that regularly has over 50% of the ball. Trippier for a bottom three side that only had 40% of the ball, which affects their tackles/interception rates etc as they spend a larger amount of time trying to win it back. It is further compounded by the fact that Trippier took a large majority of Burnley’s free kicks and corners and as far as i am aware there aren’t any ‘chances created from open play’ stats available, only crosses from open play. This makes him look like a chance creating fiend compared to Walker when this is not quite as true.

              Apologies for coming across negative, but i think its a better exercise to conduct once each player has had a run of games for Spurs playing in the same team/set up. If you want to look at them as individual players, then WhoScored is a good starting place and bear in mind the factors above.

              • anotherwisemonkey 18th July 2015 at 12:34 pm #

                Excellent points, well made. Keep up the great analaysis!

  7. Mike J 14th July 2015 at 1:28 pm #

    Interesting you mention Alderweireld as DM in some circumstances. Is it possible (given his excellent distribution of the ball) that Poch might have him penned in as a regular (rather than occasional) DM starter, and in fact bought him with the possibility of trying just that?

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 14th July 2015 at 1:37 pm #

      It could well be and some comments made by Poch when he signed about his ability to play def mid point to this potentially happening. If we don’t sign a proper DM then this is the way i’d expect us to go.

  8. Matthew 16th July 2015 at 2:16 pm #

    Nice break down.

    I’m curious how you think a consistent fullback play (Walker, Tripper, etc) will affect Lamela. I’m hoping that consistent width and defensive positioning will free him up a bit more this season.

    Last season he seemed to drift in often, but with no threat of an overlapping fullback it was easy for the opposition to collapse on him. Teams also seemed to attack our right side often, taking advantage of Dier and Vlad playing out of position.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 16th July 2015 at 3:37 pm #

      Good question Matthew and i’m hoping that a move like this brings the best out of Lamela for the reasons you mention. I also think that playing with a consistent partner will allow him to develop more of a relationship down this flank. Playing with a chopping and changing partner from either Walker, Vlad, Naughton and Dier last term didn’t help. He really didn’t have much of a chance to develop a chemistry with any of them, plus Dier and Naughton were very apprehensive in going forward. Having someone to overlap and stretch the defence out wide should free up hs game.

      I’m also looking for him to develop as this is effectively his second season in the Premier League. I say this as he didn’t really play in his first 12 months here. On top of this i’m hoping he’s more settled now as he was struggling with the language and culture of living in London. He has great potential, is still just 23 and this is a big season for him given that it will be a contract year. His current deal expires in 2018 and next summer we’ll be either looking to renew or sell before he has one year left and will be worth a fraction of what we paid.