Kieran Trippier explained the reasons for his decision to part ways with Atlético Madrid and join Newcastle Unitedjust months after winning the LaLiga Santander title with Los Rojiblancos.
The England international has expressed his desire to return to England and has landed a move to Magpies in the January transfer window.
“I had a lot of conversations with the director [Diego Simeone] and behind the scenes with the Atletico President [Enrique Cerezo]”, Tripper Recount Newcastle Legend Alain Shearer in an interview with Athletic.
“They made it clear they didn’t want me to go, but I had some family reasons why I had to come back.
“I wanted to come back to the north, and in the north only Newcastle were interested. But I know the manager [Eddie Howe] and I have worked with him before [at Burnley] and I had good discussions with him about the project and what might happen.
“I thought maybe I could get other players to come here too; that if I joined Newcastle maybe it will show that we can get out of here. [the relegation zone]. It’s going to be difficult, but I’m in. This is the perfect time for me and my family.”
Tripper went to hail Diego Simeone and he revealed that there were people who advised him against joining Atlético Madrid back in 2019.
“He’s hard to explain, but when you see him on the touchline, that’s how he is in every training session, in every passing drill,” Tripper Explain.
“He’s just relentless. He would work me out for an hour and a half after practice doing one-on-ones, showing me snippets of my time at Tottenham, saying I should do this or that. He helped me so much. He took me to positions I never thought I would be in as a footballer.
“A lot of people said that Atletico was the wrong decision for me and [stuff like] ‘he will not cross the center line in a Simeon team’, but I didn’t really think about it.
“Two European teams had come to pick me up and I was about to join Naples at the time, but when Atlético Madrid came in, I thought, ‘I’ll take some’. I didn’t know the language, but I think I can adapt to any situation.”
Simeone in the Premier League?
Tripper also revealed that Simeon is learning English and has expressed a desire to see him coach a Premier League side in the future.
“I would love to see him work in England,” said Tripper.
“I know he was learning English about a year ago and his partner speaks English. Simeon is it because he is so passionate when he talks in the locker room; I think it would happen to him if he didn’t speak perfectly. But I would like to see it in the premier league. I think everyone would.”
Simeon was criticized for his defensive style of play when Atletico managed to knock Liverpool out of the Champions League in 2020, but Tripper defended his coach’s philosophy.
“It’s a bit unfair because Simeone has been so successful over the past 11 years,” noted Tripper.
“He won eight trophies. I understand where [Jurgen] Klopp is coming, but if you play at Anfield you can’t face them because you will be punished.
“I remember Simeon telling us that night to keep in shape and try to catch them on the counter-attack and, at the end of the day, it’s all about winning. Not everyone can play Klopp or [Pep] Guardiola way. It’s just not realistic. Everyone has their own system or configuration, and Simeonit’s different. It worked for him.”
Trippier’s exit from Tottenham
The England international also spoke about his departure from Tottenham Hotspur join Atletico in 2019 and revealed that the club’s president, Daniel Levyoffered it to other clubs before the end of this season.
“If you think back to the last months of my Tottenham career, I admit that I was not at the level where I was at the time  World Cup and there is no excuse for that,” Tripper admitted.
“As a footballer you try to do your best and sometimes things just don’t go your way. It just didn’t happen, but I was always picked by Mauricio Pochettino.
“After the Champions League final, it was a good time to move on. The media weren’t really on my side at the time and maybe I needed to get out a bit. England just to clear my mind. Never looked back.
“What annoyed me, as you know, football people talk and there are always rumours, but I know 100 per cent for a fact – and that’s what annoyed me the most – that two months before the end of the season, Daniel [Levy] offered me to other clubs. I knew for sure this was happening, so I knew my time had to be up. I was playing for my teammates and the fans, but I also knew that I was not wanted.”
Tripper also highlighted how Spurs locker room were injured following the departure of the midfielder Moussa Dembele at Canton R&F in January 2019.
“For me, the big one was the sale Moussa Dembele this month of January, Tripper recalled.
“I think I can speak for the players who were there. In the dressing room he was an amazing person and all the guys loved him, but on the pitch he was the kind of player who would win a few percent .difference.It’s what wins you things.
“It baffled me that they were selling it. I know it was going to be a free [transfer] in the summer, but with the things we were hard on, I would have kept him there and then let him go. He made the difference between winning a trophy or not.”