By Richard Martin
LONDON (Reuters) – Tottenham Hotspur right back Kieran Trippier has not shied away from the fact he has underperformed this season but he hopes to be refreshed for a chance at redemption in Saturday’s Champions League final against Liverpool.
Trippier was at the forefront of England’s run to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup but has paid a price for his exertions in Russia lacking consistency and struggling with injuries, with many expecting him to leave Spurs this year.
“The season has gone now and I have to accept the way I have played this season, I know I can play so much better,” Trippier told reporters ahead of the match at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium.
“I have been struggling with my groin from a number of months, it has been affecting me, annoying me, but there has been so many games, on Saturday, Wednesday, Tuesday, it’s been difficult to do my rehab and properly focus on it,” he said.
“It has not helped, obviously with the World Cup in the summer and coming back and playing straight away…”
An unforgiving schedule and injury to fellow right back Serge Aurier has deprived Trippier of chances to fully recover from persistent groin issues and he has been unable to offer the same attacking threat as in the previous season.
He has come in for particular criticism for falling short in defence, such as in the 1-0 defeat by Ajax Amsterdam in the semi-final first leg. However, he hopes to reap the benefits of three weeks of rest to be in with a chance of starting the final in Madrid.
“It’s about accepting it, looking back and reviewing it like I always do after every game. It has happened, the way I have played… one big game left, if I play I can give everything to the team to help us win,” he said.
“Now I have had the three weeks, the big gap, and I have been able to do that (rest) and I feel good now. The last few weeks has been about training hard and giving everything in training and showing the manager that you deserve to play.”
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Christian Radnedge)