England manager Gareth Southgate is in the midst of a nightmare scenario in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after the Three Lions are under threat of being stripped of the services of three right-backs that are all in line to be named in his squad for the winter tournament.
At the time of writing, serious questions surround Chelsea’s Reece James, Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Manchester City’s Kyle Walker after the right-back triumvirate have all picked up serious fitness concerns and are under threat of missing out on England’s Qatari campaign, though an update on James suggests he should be back available before Southgate names his squad.
For a system under Southgate that heavily relies on the contributions of its wing-backs in all phases of play, any injury bug at that position could spell potential disaster for England, or possibly force Southgate to change his tactical preferences to adjust to the reality at hand.
But according to Newcastle boss Eddie Howe, the solution for England should fall at the feet of Magpies star Kieran Trippier.
The 32-year-old veteran has been one of the leading performers for Howe since his arrival from Atlético Madrid during the January transfer window last season and has already found a home at St. James’ Park, while now being a vital cog in the wheel for Howe as Newcastle boasts the joint-best defensive record in the Premier League.
For Howe, Trippier’s performances since his arrival speak for themselves, and when asked if England would be able to trust the Bury native, Howe responded with nothing but praise for the senior figure.
“Absolutely. Just look at his performances this year, he’s been incredible. Even last year, in the brief time he played, he made a massive impact, both on the pitch and off it, in terms of his leadership.”
“He has continued to do the same and we’re seeing more of him because he’s been fitter for longer.”
“Just look at the first goal we scored against Brentford (5-1 win last weekend). It was his cross from the short corner, and it can really be underestimated how difficult that skill is, to put it exactly where Bruno needed it to be to score. It was an incredible highlight of his technical quality. But also his defending is of a very good level - I can’t speak highly enough of him.”
Though it can be assumed on evidence that James, if fit and available, will remain first choice for Southgate, Trippier would present a strong backup as any other that England would be able to rely on.