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Kieran Trippier relishing battle for England right-back spot

Kieran Trippier relishing battle for England right-back spot
© Reuters
The Atletico Madrid right-back helped his team win the LaLiga title.

Kieran Trippier is relishing the four-way battle for England's right-back berth at this summer's European Championship on the back of his key role in Atletico Madrid's title triumph.

Gareth Southgate had to whittle down his 33-man provisional selection for this summer's tournament on Tuesday and, perhaps surprisingly, kept all four right-sided full-backs.

Kyle Walker, Reece James and widely-discussed Trent Alexander Arnold were included in the 26 along with Trippier, who starred on the right in England run to the World Cup semi-finals three years ago.

"There are a lot of right-backs not here who are also doing extremely well also but we all get on really well," the 30-year-old former Tottenham man said.

Kieran Trippier won LaLiga with Atletico Madrid
Kieran Trippier won LaLiga with Atletico Madrid (Manu Fernandez/AP)

"But for four of us to be included, we are all over the moon we are in the squad.

"We can play in different positions and are absolutely delighted to be involved. We are looking forward to the Euros and being involved."

Some had marked Trippier as the most likely right-back to drop out of the fold, but Southgate has kept a close eye on his performances in Spain and found the lack of noise around the LaLiga-winning Englishman strange.

"We, of course, are a bit myopic," the Three Lions boss said when answering a question about his attacking talent compared to other Euro 2020 contenders.

Kieran Trippier has long been a favourite of Gareth Southgate
Kieran Trippier has long been a favourite of Gareth Southgate (Tim Goode/PA)

"You know, that's why people don't talk about Kieran because he's playing in Spain. He's won LaLiga, he's been voted in the team of the season, nobody mentions him."

Trippier is loving life in Spain and feels he has got his performances back on track.

The 30-year-old started Tottenham's Champions League final loss to Liverpool at the end of a difficult campaign, which ended with him being dropped by England for the 2019 Nations League finals.

But Trippier dug deep and forced his way back into the England squad through his displays at Atletico.

"It is an unbelievable feeling and I am still pinching myself," he said after winning LaLiga just over a week ago.

"That is one of the reasons why I went there, to try and win titles and most importantly to get my performances back on track from when I was at Tottenham.

"I feel like I made a big step when I first went there and have improved defensively and in attack. I am loving it. I am enjoying it and delighted to be back with England."

Trippier has won all 26 of his caps under Southgate, who kept selecting the right-back before and after serving a 10-week ban for a betting breach earlier this year.

"It is something I have had to deal with," he said ahead of Wednesday's warm-up friendly against Austria in Middlesbrough. "It is gone now.

"I was fully focused on playing as quickly as I could and doing well so there was no better game to come back (in) than the Madrid derby.

"That is all in the past now and (I'm) fully focused on now. I don't look back and feel I have had a strong season personally and I am fully focused on helping the team tomorrow."

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