AFTER WATCHING Kieran Trippier excel as a left-back for England this week, Eddie Howe has revealed that there may be times this season when he switches the defender to the left side of Newcastle United’s back four.

While Trippier has spent the majority of his domestic and international career at right-back, Gareth Southgate has used him on the opposite wing on occasion.

One such occasion was England’s 3-1 triumph against Scotland at Hampden Park on Tuesday. Trippier reacted with an outstanding defensive performance.

With Newcastle’s game schedule about to heat up significantly as the Magpies prepare to make their Champions League return in Milan next week, Howe acknowledges that switching Trippier to the left flank is something he could explore.

“Kieran’s a versatile player,” Howe remarked before of today’s teatime clash with Brentford. “He’s played a lot of left-back over the years, especially for England.” Never say never – we’ll look at everything and strive to put together the best team possible for each game.”

With the return of long-term absentee Emil Krafth, Newcastle’s right-back options are expected to expand in the coming weeks.

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Krafth has been out since tearing his cruciate ligaments more than a year ago, but he has been working on his recuperation on the training field in recent weeks.


“It’s early days for Emil, but it’s great to have him back,” Howe said. “He’s a fantastic character.” He’s probably had four or five training sessions already, and he’s gotten better with each one. I believe the team is relieved to have him back – he has a terrific attitude and is an important member of the squad.”

Krafth was one of four senior players cut from Newcastle’s Champions League squad that was presented to UEFA earlier this month.

Kieran Trippier Profile

With only 23 players allowed on Newcastle’s A-list, Howe was obliged to leave Mark Gillespie, Javier Manquillo, and Matt Ritchie out of the club’s European squad.

“It was very difficult,” he admitted. “Having to leave players out of the squad is a really difficult situation for me and the club.” You don’t want to leave anyone out because this is a gift for the entire squad for what they accomplished last year.

“We had to make some difficult decisions due to the Champions League’s rules and regulations.” They weren’t easy discussions to have, but they were necessary.”

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