Trippier: ”I couldn’t have come to a better place”

avMakoto Asahara

A new adventure in a completely different league and footballing environment.

Kieran Trippers transfer from Tottenham to Atlético was one of the summers most surprising.

Sportbladet has met Atléticos new star in an interview about the move, the team, the league, the talented teammate and the worlds most expensive defender.

It has gone about half an hour since the squad of Atlético Madrid arrived to the players hotel in central Stockholm during Friday night.

The Saturday that is awaiting contains a new match, against a new great club in a new location. In this case it is Juventus in Friends arena in Stockholm that is in store for the team, in the lucrative pre season-carousel that goes by the name International Champions Cup.

In other words – a pre season for one of the world’s greatest football clubs is the same as a period filled with travelling.

– We played in America, Mexico and hopefully there can be another good game for us here, says the right back Kieran Trippier when he sits down for a talk with Sportbladets reporter.

That Kieran Trippier would be in this position is probably something that no one, maybe not even himself, would have imagined a year ago.

”Great time to experience something new”

Let us go back a year.

Kieran Trippier has just returned from a successful World Cup with England, where the Tottenham defender had introduced himself on the international stage with his sensitive crossing and presence at the right flank.

But injuries and a rough patch formwise made the upcoming Premier League-season to something he would rather forget on a personal footballing level.

He was in need of a new challenge – and he found it in Madrid.

– It is a challenge. One that I’m looking forward to. Ive watched La Liga over the years. A very technical league, a very exciting league, one that I am very much looking forward to. It is only one week away now, he says.

Many were surprised by your move. It is not the most common thing with english right backs in Spain...

– Not many English player take the step to play abroad. I don’t know the reason why, but I thought it was a great opportunity and a great time to experience something new. And I couldn’t have come to a better place.

– It is a huge club with big expectations and I wanted to be a part of this. I have always wanted to play abroad since I was young. It is a different league, different coaches, so I wanted to experience that. And I am here now.

”Everybody has connected straight away”

Except for being a club that is expected to fight for trophies in all tournaments, it is also a very demanding environment that the british 28-year old has arrived in. The manager Diego Simeones recipe for success during Atléticos journey to the absolute top is a recipe filled to the edge with hard work, team loyality and sacrificial will. And hard demands. Something that Kieran Trippier was fully aware of when he decided to take the step this summer.

Has anything been contrary to what you expected in Atlético?

– No. Obviously when I watched Atletico in La Liga and in the Champions League you see the coaches demands. You work hard every single game, every single training session. And it was similar as at it was in Tottenham. We worked hard, we played full on. But I knew it was going to be difficult coming here. Training. Adapting. But to be honest I felt very comfortable straight away. The lads have made me feel so welcome and there is no better feeling as a new player.

It might also help that he is far from alone to be new in the team. Trippier is ”only” one in a wide array of new signings that the team has made lately. Necessary signings considering that ”Los Rojiblancos” has said farewell to important players as Antoine Griezmann, Diego Godin, Rodri, Lucas Hernandez, Filipe Luis and Juanfran during the summer.

– There has been a lot of outs and a few ins in the team. But it feels like we found each other very quickly. But yeah, in some cases in different teams it takes some time for new players to come in. But for me and this team everybody has connected straight away, says Trippier.

If you look at the goal for the team. Is it the title you are aiming for this season?

– You don’t want to look too far ahead. The season hasn’t even started yet. We just want to have the mindset to go into every single game to win and hopefully by the end of the season we will be up there.

On Felix: ”Can go as high as he wants to”

An important key, for it to be a season that ends in celebratory manner in the red and white part of the spanish capital, is a portugese 19-year old.

A sum of €126m was required for Atlético to aquire the services of Joao Felix.

– An unbelievable talent. For being so young, 19, he can go as high as he wants to. An incredible talent. A joy to play with. Hopefully he will have special moments this season, which I know he will. He is a really nice guy on and off the field.

Considering his age, price tag and the pressure that comes with it: Do you other players make sure to look after him a little extra?

– The price is nothing really. He is a quality player. Everybody knows his talent. And he will just go on the field and enjoy his football in such a young age. And just show everybody how good he is. I’ve seen it in training and he has shown it in games, certainly during this pre season, so it is an exciting season for him. We all hope he can score goals and create a lot of goals and do well for the club.

Joao Felix is not the only footballer that has changed clubs for eye-watering transfer sums during this summer. And then it is not Kieran Trippiers own price tag of €22m that is refered to.

On Maguire: ”He deserves everything”

His national team comrade Harry Maguire became the world’s most expensive defender this summer when Manchester United payed €87m to Leicester for the 26-year old.

Considering your price, is Maguire worth that amount?

– It is difficult. You don’t want to compare price tags. Me and Harry are two totally different players but you see how well he did last season, how well he has done since he started playing in the Premier League. So, for him I know the price tag won’t be the issue. He just goes on the field with the right mindset. He is a top professional. Everybody are entitled to their own opinion about the price. But for Harry, as soon as he steps out on the field, he will just give everything for his team and the club, says Trippier.

– Harry has come through the lower leagues. League One, Championship, Premier League... He deserves everything because he works so hard. Starting in League One and now to be playing for Manchester United, obviously one of the biggest clubs in the world, it is a great opportunity for him. I know he will take it in stride and do very well and I say his performances show he deserves to play at the top level. I wish him nothing but the best.

It wouldn’t be a wild guess that Harry Maguire would wish the same for Kieran Trippier in his new adventure.

An adventure abroad that he has always dreamed of.

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