Kieran Trippier has vowed not to give up his England career after swapping Atletico Madrid’s Champions League campaign for Newcastle’s fight for Premier League survival.
The 31-year-old full-back, who has 35 senior caps, secured his return to his native country on Friday when he completed a move on what is understood to be a two-and-a-half-year contract.
His decision may have raised eyebrows, with more cynical spectators citing Newcastle’s new Saudi-backed spending power as a factor, but the former Burnley and Tottenham defender has insisted his ambition Remains strong as always.
Trippier, who played in his country’s World Cup semi-final loss to Croatia in 2018 and Euro 2020 final loss to Italy, said: “I’m still ambitious, I still want to join the England team.
“I know I’m up against Reece James, Kyle Walker and Trent [Alexander-Arnold] And I feel like I can still handle the pressure and performance, I still feel like I’m in pretty good shape.
“I am looking to challenge myself again and I will never give up on England internationals” [team], I am playing for Newcastle, I need to do well for the club.
“I know I am up against three or four or five other right-backs, but I am that type of player, I like challenges, I like to test myself and it is another test for me personally.
“But I will never give up hope of playing for England.”
Trippier is the first player to be recruited for head coach Eddie Howe, with whom he previously worked at Burnley, by Amanda Stavley’s consortium in which Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is an 80 percent stakeholder.
He neatly shrugged off questions about ethical concerns amid human rights issues raised during and since the takeover process, but was quick to address suggestions he made for the club for purely financial reasons. The offer of employment was accepted.
Trippier, who could make his FA Cup third-round debut with Cambridge on Saturday, said: “I know why I came here. I came to help the team, the project, everything about it.
“If people say it’s about money, everyone has a right to have their own opinion, but I know my reasons and this isn’t one of them.”
If people say it’s about money, everyone has a right to have their own opinion, but I know my reasons and this isn’t one of them.Kieran Trippier
Asked about the real possibility of relegation, the former Manchester City trainee said: “I’m taking it game by game, I’m not focused on what could happen in a few months.”
Trippier believes he has returned to England a better player for his time at Madrid and believes he has a lot more to offer, both in the Magpies’ ongoing relegation battle and what lies ahead.
He said: “It has been an incredible experience. I personally learned a lot about myself off the field, but most importantly on the pitch with Diego Simeone.
He said, “As you can imagine, he worked on me consistently as a group, individually and collectively, and I think he has improved my game a lot. I have done more in my entire career. Certainly the experiences I have had in Spain will definitely help me here in Newcastle.
“This club can go as far as they want – but first we need to focus on this season. This is an exciting project. The owners want this club to be very successful. Hope I can help the team. It’s an exciting time for supporters and players.”