In recent seasons Tottenham Hotspur defender Kieran Trippier has started the club’s biggest matches in the Premier League and in the Champions League, but manager Mauricio Pochettino showed exactly how he is feeling about the 28-year-old at the moment by leaving him on the substitutes’ bench for the visit of Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.
Well, Spurs hosted the Bundesliga leaders at Wembley looking to take a big step towards a quarter-final spot in the Europe’s elite club competition, and they did exactly that with a comprehensive 3-0 first leg win.
Trippier would have been a shoe-in to start matches like this one last season, but it has been different story during the current campaign where he has struggled for form – he was caught out time and time again defensively against Leicester City at the weekend for example – and has only provided four assists.
As a result, Pochettino opted to start Serge Aurier at right wing-back ahead of the England international, and the Ivory Coast international vindicated the decision by helping the north London outfit keep a clean sheet, as well as setting up Jan Vertonghen’s goal.
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly, but it’s clear to see that Pochettino isn’t satisfied with his performances right now.
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The 28-year-old hasn’t really looked the same player ever since his 2018 World Cup heroics with his country, and he needs to really step up both offensively and defensively if he wants to prove to his manager that he should be starting on big European nights like the one on Wednesday.
Perhaps going back to basics is the way forward for the former Burnley man, to ensure he is solid at the back as well as providing the type of deliveries that Harry Kane et al can thrive on.