Why Pochettino must hand Tottenham 26-year-old key role in season run-in
COMMENT By Matt Farr
Tottenham kept their faint Premier League title hopes alive with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Watford at White Hart Lane on Saturday.
Scintillating attacking displays from Son Heung-Min, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli put Tottenham firmly in the driving seat from the early stages, but it was the performance of one other that particularly caught the eye.
Full-back Kieran Trippier slipped under the radar for Tottenham at the weekend, but he gave a performance worthy of the highest praise.
The 26-year-old was a constant threat to the Watford defence on the right-flank, on what was a rare start for the Tottenham man.
Trippier had been handed a role in Mauricio Pochettino’s starting eleven, with the ever-present Kyle Walker restricted to a role on the bench.
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But the display from the former Burnley man on Sunday means it won’t be a case of Walker simply walking back into the Tottenham first-team.
First and foremost, Trippier is one of the most underrated crossers of the ball in the Premier League.
He was always a threat from the wider areas during his time with Burnley, and he has continued in the same mould at Tottenham.
His crossing ability was there for all to see against Watford, producing a tantalising ball for Son to hammer home Tottenham’s third goal.
Vincent Janssen had earlier squandered a golden opportunity created by the right-boot of Trippier, but Son made no mistake in taking full advantage of his quality delivery.
The problem for Trippier is that Walker has also proven influential in the final third for Tottenham this season. Walker has supplied six assists compared to Trippier’s five, but he has had much more opportunities.
Pochettino now faces a dilemma as to who to hand the right-back spot in his side for their next game at home to Bournemouth, and then against Chelsea in the FA Cup semi final a week later.
However, with the Spurs chief likely to feel inclined to recall his premier option (Walker) at some stage, he must find a key role for Trippier to play between now and the end of the campaign.
Trippier created countless chances for Tottenham’s attackers on Sunday, but imagine what effect that could have with Harry Kane leading the line again.
Janssen didn’t make the most of it, but Tottenham’s top goalscorer certainly would.
His lack of opportunities has also seen him linked with a potential summer move away from the club, but the Watford showing proves just how valuable an asset he can be if kept on board.