It has taken 10 years, a lot of hard work from him and his parents and a load of rejection, but at last, aged 27, Kieran Trippier is an overnight sensation
It is the banal moments which often tell you that you are now inhabiting a different sphere of celebrity, such as that trip to the shops which results in serial recognition.
It happened to Kieran Trippier the other day in Marks & Spencer, the realisation that everyone now wants a piece of you as you have made an impact on so many.
He is not complaining. He is still living that post-World Cup euphoria as he prepares to take on Manchester United on Monday night.
Kieran Trippier became an overnight sensation for England during the World Cup
Whereas three months ago a Tottenham fan might have stopped him, exposure to a global audience means it can seem like the whole world wants a word with the man who had not made his England debut until June 2017 but was perhaps the best right-back at the World Cup.
His wife Charlotte had popped into the store, with Trippier merely assigned to child control duties with three-year-old Jacob.
‘I was busy chasing my little boy,’ he says. ‘But people were coming up to me and before the World Cup they weren’t doing that.
‘We were in our little bubble when we were in Russia and you see stuff on social media of fans in the streets and so on. But since I’ve come back I’ve had quite a lot of people — even back home off my mum and dad’s council estate — be emotional, in a way, about it and I feel this team and the fans have come back together.
‘I have had loads of people come up to me and say how well we did and how proud the whole nation is of our team. We overcame a lot of obstacles in that tournament.’
He had not made his England debut until 2017 but was perhaps the best right-back in Russia
Despite the team falling at the penultimate hurdle, Trippier had sealed his impact on the tournament with a stunning free-kick to open the scoring against Croatia in the World Cup semi-final.
He did something similar last Saturday in his first game back for Spurs against Fulham, another sign of his elevated status since the summer, scoring with another free-kick, previously the preserve of specialist Christian Eriksen.
‘It was an unbelievable experience to be part of the squad,’ says Trippier. ‘It just showed what a year can do because I only made my debut last year against France and a year later I’m playing in a World Cup semi-final.
‘Sometimes it was crazy. I was in the hotel room and speaking to my friends on the phone and they would tell me how crazy it was back home. Sometimes it hit me as well — I’m actually at a World Cup.
‘Sometimes you forget that you are working out there and then when you get your free time you think to yourself: “Wow, quarter-final, semi-final of the World Cup!” It was mind-blowing. It’s something I’m very proud of. Hopefully there will be many more because I’m really hungry for it.’
Life has changed for Trippier and his wife Charlotte after England’s semi-final performance
Even now, reflecting on what it meant to his parents, Chris and Eleanor, who retain their council house in Summerseat, between Bury and Ramsbottom, he becomes emotional.
‘I’ve offered them to move but my mum literally walks to her work, which is Londis.
‘My nan lives round the corner, all my mum’s aunties. We have all our family round there. She’s happy and that’s the most important thing.
‘I tell them all the time how grateful I am. I told them after the World Cup, after we got knocked out against Croatia. They just said how sorry and how proud they are of me but it was a chance for me to thank them for getting me where I am, working so hard, having so many jobs when I was young. For me and my brother [Kelvin Lomax, who played for Oldham]. It was not easy and I thank them all the time.’
Trippier’s delivery from set pieces was one of Gareth Southgate’s biggest attacking weapons
His family flew a St George’s Cross with Trippier emblazoned across it from their garden
His dad, a tree surgeon, had to work away from home, in Glasgow, at times. ‘He used to miss us but in dad’s eyes, the most important thing was to get us to training and to put food on the table.
‘When I was younger, my Dad was working away like five days a week for weeks on end, just trying to get as much money as possible. It has been difficult for them both, especially with four children — four boys as well. They have done themselves proud and I’ve let them know and my brothers do too.’
The family flew a St George’s Cross with Trippier emblazoned across it from their garden during the World Cup and had neighbours round to the house to watch games, before flying out for the quarter-finals, against Sweden in Samara.
‘From very young, seeing my dad, a Manchester United fan, a mad England fan, when they are playing and watching his face when they are winning or losing. For me, playing in a World Cup for England and just thinking about it, it makes me emotional.’
Trippier had to wait for his Tottenham chance but has now cemented himself as first choice
He is now 27 but it has taken a good 10 years to become an overnight sensation. He graduated from the Manchester City academy just at the time when big money was coming into the club, limiting his pathway into the first team.
Loan spells at Barnsley and a move to Burnley in the Championship followed, where a season impressing in the Premier League earned him the move to Spurs. Even then it took him 18 months to displace Kyle Walker.
At City he was part of a team that won the FA Youth Cup along with Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Ben Mee (Burnley), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic) and Vladimir Weiss (formerly Rangers and Espanyol).
‘We had very good players. iT’s a shame really as maybe only two in Studg and Dedryck made it out of our group and into the first team.
‘There was so much talent there who could have played in the first team but everything happens for a reason.’
His importance was clear to see after being handed and scoring a free-kick against Fulham
Eddie Howe signed him for Burnley and Sean Dyche then honed him before Maurico Pochettino took him to Spurs in 2015 – but even then he had to bide his time.
‘I’ve got a lot to thank the manager for,’ he says. ‘It took me about 16 to 18 months to try to get the first spot at right-back. I knew I had to be patient because it’s not easy taking Kyle’s spot.
The manager always had his arm round me saying: “Your chance will come”. And I always believed it. The chance finally came when Walks left. Other managers could have bought players to go in my position but he trusted me.’
And now also with free-kicks. It was something of a surprise when, in England’s World Cup friendly against Nigeria in May, Trippier stepped up to take the first free-kick and almost scored. He had only taken one previously with Tottenham.
During the World Cup, his set-piece delivery became England’s key weapon. By the end of the tournament, he was top of a table of ‘chances created’ ahead of Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Neymar. ‘Coming back off the World Cup I feel more mature, I feel more confident,’ he says.
At Old Trafford on Monday they will appreciate the fact that his family grew up United fans and that he used to watch David Beckham on YouTube as a child.
‘His crossing, the way he picked people out, his long passing, his short passing, his ability at set-pieces, the way he moved the ball at free-kicks. He’s the one I always looked up to, him and Andrea Pirlo,’ he says.
‘He was always my idol growing up, someone I wanted to be. I’m nowhere near his level but I can try and get there.’
Maybe Beckham would cause more of a stir at M&S. But regarding set-pieces and free-kicks, Trippier is perhaps not as far away as he imagines.