Tottenham Hotspur’s right back situation escalated from thin to potential crisis after today’s 2-0 friendly win over Juventus at Wembley Stadium in London. Full back Kieran Trippier left the match in the first half with a twisted ankle, leaving the right flank in the hands of academy graduate Kyle Walker-Peters, and putting the finest possible point on the fact that Spurs desperately need to sign a new right back.
Trippier was spotted by TV cameras in the Spurs technical area wearing a moon boot and sporting a pair of crutches, which instantly put Tottenham fans on social media into a state of near panic. Afterwards, manager Mauricio Pochettino deferred making an proclamations about Trippier’s injury, saying that he would need to be looked at by team physicians.
“We don't know [how serious the injury is] yet. We need to assess him on Monday and then we will see. Now the feeling is good. It's true that he has crutches, but it's good. We hope that it is not a big issue.
“I cannot say [if he’ll play against Newcastle]. I cannot guess because we need to wait until Monday, it's impossible to give you the correct information of the situation. Then we'll see.”
Trippier was actually injured twice against Juventus. First, he went in awkwardly for a tackle against Alex Sandro and got raked in the calf by his studs. He was down hurt for a couple minutes but came back onto the pitch and put in the assist to Harry Kane for Spurs’ first goal. The ankle injury appeared to be accidental and separate to the incident with Alex Sandro.
To his credit, Walker-Peters put in a pretty decent performance in Trippier’s place against one of the best teams in world football, albeit a Juventus side that was only playing at about 75% speed. However, Pochettino was quick to quash any suggestions that KWP is ready to step in and be a starting full back in the Premier League.
“He's very young. It's true that to think and to give the big responsibility like Kieran, it's too much today for him. He's a player that needs to work with us and maybe start to play in different games but we cannot think that, in the case of Kieran's weeks away from the team, only he can replace him. I think we are working, but we were working before that happened and try to find the solutions in different positions on the pitch.”
That begs the question of what Spurs do if Trippier is out for any length of time. The most obvious solution is to play Eric Dier as a right back, a position that he played on numerous occasions his first year at Spurs. Alternately, Moussa Sissoko could also deputize as an emergency right back, assuming Poch doesn’t think that Walker-Peters is ready to start.
If Trippier does miss next Sunday’s match, Dier or Sissoko are likely possibilities even if Spurs sign a right back next week; it’s unlikely that Poch will slot any new signing directly into the starting XI. But it does pretty strongly emphasize just how thin Spurs’ squad is at the moment and how much they are hurt by the departure of Kyle Walker.