Kieran Trippier has injected some much-needed solidity into Newcastle’s defence and is thriving back under the Premier League pressure, according to former England full-back Paul Parker.
But the Italia 90 star admits the Magpies right-back still has significant work to do if he is to force his way onto England’s World Cup plane.
Trippier, 32, arrived at St. James’ Park from Atletico Madrid in January and has functioned as a crucial component in Newcastle’s rise up to fourth in the Premier League table.
And with fellow English right-backs Kyle Walker and Reece James in a race against time to be fit for Qatar, that form has catapulted Trippier back into Gareth Southgate’s equation.
Parker, who helped the Three Lions reach the World Cup semi-finals at Italia 90, saluted the former Tottenham ace’s impact but believes Walker and James remain the England boss’ most effective two options – if fit for the tournament.
The 58-year-old said: “Trippier loves to get forwards - but he knows his first job is to defend.
International reputation in tatters, hooliganism in the streets and intense political pressure on England. This is a football story unlike any other.
Watch the first of three episodes, Italia ‘90: When Football Changed Forever, from Monday, 9pm on @Channel4 pic.twitter.com/zzQUqxkSow
— Channel 4 (@Channel4) October 30, 2022
“As a result, I haven’t seen anybody rip him apart.
“He knows how to defend and he knows how to duck and dive - as you have to if you play for Atletico.
“He had a good education there then he has come back and put himself under a little bit of pressure by playing for Newcastle - the demands are high.
“But he has come back at the right time and he is a leading player there.
“He does well, but he is not a Kyle Walker or a Reece James.
“He is not a powerhouse in that way with his running and everything.
“I think he is more of a pass-and-move player, he gets into good areas and has a great delivery with the ball at his feet.”
Chelsea ace James, 22, has been sidelined with a knee injury in recent weeks while Manchester City star Walker, 32, has gone through recent surgery on a groin injury after his side’s 6-3 mauling of local rivals Manchester United last month.
And Parker, who earned 19 caps for the Three Lions between 1989 and 1994, added: “It is a crying shame that James is injured at this moment in time.
“He has not been written off yet, but it is just a shame that there is this doubt around him.
“Walker has had a couple of false dawns with coming back and it hasn’t worked out.
“So he is a bigger problem at this moment because if you do pick him, could he break down again?
“Reece James is a different kind of animal and the best right-back in the country - I think they need to see how it works out.”
Parker was speaking ahead of Channel 4 documentary ‘Italia 90: When Football Changed Forever’, which aired its first episode on Monday night and sees Parker feature alongside fellow England stars Stuart Pearce, Paul Gascoigne, John Barnes, Peter Shilton and Steve Bull.
England’s run to the semi-finals – where they suffered penalty heartbreak against Germany – still holds a storied status in Three Lions folklore.
And Parker, who played an unfortunate role in the Germans’ opener before providing the assist for Gary Lineker’s leveller, is thrilled to help shine a light on the tournament over three decades on.
He added: “I’m involved in something that goes on and on and on.
“To see people still talking so passionately about Italia 90 32 years on is just something I never anticipated.
“I thought it would have been done when we got home, and the new season started, usually people move on.
“But you know, it just hasn’t, it hasn’t been allowed to die.”
Italia 90: When Football Changed Forever. Broadcasting on Channel 4 at 9 pm on Monday 31st October, includes interviews with Paul Parker, Stuart Pearce, Paul Gascoigne, John Barnes, Peter Shilton and Steve Bull #Italia90 https://www.channel4.com/