England star Kieran Trippier has admitted that he used to study David Beckham and Andrea Pirlo as he continues to impress with his crossing and set-piece delivery at the World Cup.
The Tottenham right-back has enjoyed a breakout tournament in Russia, with the Three Lions having progressed to the quarter-finals, where they will face Sweden on Saturday.
He believes that the system that manager Gareth Southgate has implemented suits him perfectly and allows him to exploit the offensive qualities that watching the likes of Beckham and Italy great Pirlo brought to his game.
“I used to watch Beckham and Andrea Pirlo,” Trippier said. “Players like that, they had a fantastic right foot on them, everyone knows that. Beckham was the one I always looked up to. The technique, his crossing, on the move or set pieces. He is the one I used to look up to on crossing the ball.”
The 27-year-old is delighted that a skill he has been honing for years is finally something that is reaping rewards, with his delivery into the box yielding particular success in the wins over Tunisia and Panama.
“My delivery is something I always used to work on,” he added. “Me and Steve Eyre the coach at Manchester City used to stay behind for ages, after more or less every session. You can always improve on everything, really, and crossing was the one I really wanted to work on.
“There is a lot of room for improvement for everybody, no matter who you are, so that is all I did really: practice. Literally near enough every day after training, we used to stay out and practice and practice.”
Meanwhile, the defender said Southgate’s 3-5-2 formation is perfect in playing to his strengths, while he has revealed the squad have been putting in extra practice on the training field to prepare for set-piece situations.
“The formation is perfect for me,” Trippier said. “I can get forward as much as I can and try to get the crosses in and help my team as much as I can. If I manage to help them I am delighted.
“[The set pieces] depends on who you are playing too because you see Colombia, we changed our set pieces a bit because they have got big lads. And Panama are good in the air,” he said. “It depends. It’s mainly just practising in different areas, putting mannequins in the way on the training field. Just practice really and being consistent.”