England’s 2-1 win over Tunisia wasn’t exactly the perfect performance but it nonetheless displayed plenty of promise, not just for this World Cup but also the many tournaments to come, and Gareth Southgate must take huge credit for that, especially considering the Three Lions are one of the youngest and least-capped squads at the tournament.
And a key embodiment of that is Kieran Trippier. Before the World Cup started, he’d only ever made seven appearances for England, but during Monday night’s crucial victory the Tottenham star showed how important his deliveries from the right-hand side will be for this developing Three Lions outfit.
6 – Kieran Trippier created six goalscoring chances versus Tunisia – only one player has created more in a single World Cup game for England since 1966 (David Beckham, 7 vs Trinidad and Tobago in 2006). Delivery. #WorldCup #Eng pic.twitter.com/NgI3EnZ79L
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 19, 2018
Whether from dead ball situations or from open play, there was something David-Beckham-esque about Trippier’s influence on the game, which is highlighted by the statistics.
With six chances to his name, only the Manchester United icon and former Three Lions skipper has created more for England in a single World Cup game since 1996 – according to OptaJoe.
The Tottenham defender also weighed in with an incredible seven successful crosses, completed two dribbles, made two tackles and had 84 touches of the ball, but his impact was felt most from a corner in stoppage time, which met Harry Maguire’s head and fell into the path of Harry Kane for the winner.
The importance of that quality at set pieces shouldn’t be downplayed, either. Three of the four sides with the most goals from set pieces reached the semi-finals at the last World Cup in 2014 – Brazil, Germany and the Netherlands – so it’s a fantastic asset for England to have, even if reaching the penultimate stage still feels at this point like something of a pipedream.