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.
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.
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.
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 crosses||Successful open play crosses||completion (%)|
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.
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.
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.
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.