The power naps and the glory! Kieran Trippier opens up about his secrets to success and what it’s like being one of the elder statesmen for England
by: Hani Kamal El-Din
Nobody could accuse 33-year-old Kieran Trippier of sleeping on the job.
He has missed only one game for Newcastle this season and been one of England’s key performers with another cap to come in North Macedonia on Sunday.
‘I feel better now than I did in my late 20s,’ he says, crediting his impressive stamina to early bedtimes and power naps.
The defender — only the third Englishman, after Sir Bobby Charlton and Gary Lineker, to score in a World Cup semi-final — says: ‘I had a good chat in the off-season to a guy in America who was an expert on sleeping patterns.
‘It’s about having little naps in the day and making sure you don’t stagger into bed at midnight or one in the morning. You have to be reasonable and respectful so your body can recover and sleep is the key for me.
Kieran Trippier revealed regular small naps and an early bedtime are the secrets to his sucess
Trippier played at leftback for England in their 2-0 win over Malta in a Euro 2024 qualifier game
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‘I’m probably knocked out by a quarter past 10 at night, to be honest. One power nap during the day. It’s been really beneficial.’
He is also quick to praise his wife, Charlotte, and their three children for their understanding.
‘I’m very lucky. They’re good and sometimes I can go to the spare room. The missus can bath the kids and put them to bed and I can go for a sleep — easy life!’
Trippier, who made headlines last weekend following an altercation with a Newcastle fan as they were beaten 2-0 at Bournemouth, has been important to the Gareth Southgate revolution because of his versatility as well as quality. He can move seamlessly between right and left-back, vital with Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell currently injured.
As a veteran of England’s last three tournaments since 2018, he should be a voice of experience at the 2024 European Championship to guide the younger generation headed by Jude Bellingham.
It was Southgate who first asked him to play on the left against Belgium in the World Cup third-place play-off in 2018.
Newcastle defender Trippier was embroiled in a spat with a travelling supporter last week
Trippier took exception to one individual’s comment after the 2-0 defeat at Bournemouth
‘I didn’t need to be convinced. When you have the opportunity to play for your country, you’ll play anywhere. Ever since, I’ve played a lot of games there. It’s about being confident,’ he says.
‘Luke and Chilly are quality left-backs. It’s not nice to see team-mates getting injured. I’m not going to be whipping balls in with my left foot like them but I’ll give my best. I’m excited with the way I’m playing this season.’
England are excited too. They reached the final of the last Euros — beaten on penalties by Italy —and go to Germany as one of the favourites.
Trippier says the reputation of Southgate’s England having a team spirit akin to a club side is no myth.
‘There are loads of lads here who do stuff with each other outside of football. That’s the most important thing — the team is together,’ he says. ‘I’ve been away with Jordan Pickford and Harry Maguire to Ibiza with our children. I have been away with Harry Kane on holiday and Walks [Kyle Walker].
‘On the pitch, we’ve got talent and goals in us. Other teams will look and think, “They’re a problem”.’
Trippier has created more chances than anyone in the Premier League this season and second only to Pedro Neto of Wolves in assists.
Trippier became only the third Englishman, after Sir Bobby Charlton and Gary Lineker , to score in a World Cup semi-final
The 33-year-olds incredible freekick against Croatia put England into the lead during the Russia World Cup in 2018
It is a surprise his only England assist came for Shaw in the Euro 2020 final, though there is huge competition to take set-pieces, even for a player dubbed the Bury Beckham.
Once regarded as the least important position on the pitch, today’s full-backs are superstars and England is crammed with good ones.
‘The demands are so great. You have to get forward, go on overlaps but ultimately have to defend as well,’ he says. ‘There’s a big responsibility on full-backs. You look at Trent [Alexander-Arnold] at Liverpool, coming inside. Stonesy [John Stones], one minute he’s playing right-back, then he’s six, then he’s eight and then he’s just behind the striker.
‘It only feels like yesterday when I first walked into the England camp when Gaz [Gary] Cahill was here, Joe Hart and all the experienced players.
‘Fast forward to now, I’m one of the oldest. We have a lot of leaders. You don’t need to be 33 to voice your opinion.’
Trippier had to be pulled back by Newcastle team-mate Joelinton after appearing to respond angrily to comments made by a Toon fan at Bournemouth at the end of the game.
The player tried to defuse the situation afterwards by saying: ‘The fans are emotional, of course they are. They have travelled a long way. I was just having a chat with one of them. I said we are giving everything.’
When Trippier first joined he was playing with former internationals Gary Cahill and Joe Hart
Trippier recently appeared on a special edition of The Great British Bake-off with Declan Rice, Jordan Henderson and Alexander-Arnold
Talking of a travelling fanbase, these Euros will feel like a proper summer tournament with England backed by tens of thousands of supporters for the first time since 2016. Trippier cannot wait to see the Three Lions out in force in Germany. ‘Fans were restricted by Covid and then Qatar was so far — I know why fans couldn’t go,’ he says.
‘In Germany all the fans will be back and stadiums will be full. Our fans have a real opportunity to come out in numbers.
‘The relationship between the team and supporters has improved massively. All they want to see is exciting and entertaining football and we’ve shown that. The support we’ve had is incredible. It’s just taking that final step to a trophy.’
Time for Trippier to get his head down and have a nap so he’s ready.