After his summer move to Atlético, Kieran Trippier spoke about adapting to life in Madrid.
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UEFA.com is running a series of UEFA Champions League Q&As every Friday in the coming weeks.
In September we spoke to England right-back Kieran Trippier as he was beginning life at Atlético Madrid following his transfer from Tottenham Hotspur.
UEFA.com: How was it to first settle into life here?
Kieran Trippier: Obviously I was very excited when I first signed. I knew a lot about Atlético through watching them over the years – the coaching staff, 'El Cholo' [Diego Simeone], the way he sets his team up, you can just see from the outside that the players work so hard for the manager and I wanted to be a part of this.
Back home you're known quite affectionately as the 'Bury Beckham'. You're the first England regular to move here since the man himself, which must be first of all quite surprising – that no one has done it in such a long time – but also a source of pride. Was this a goal of yours, for part of your career?
Yes, it was. I didn't think it would be this soon in my career, but it just shows how fast football can change, and like you said, I'm surprised that not more English players have come out to play abroad ... I've always wanted to play abroad just to experience something different, and the time was now. It was a great opportunity for me to come to such a big club, Champions League football, the players that I've got here. It's an amazing club and I've seen how close everybody is at Atlético. I’m happy to be part of it.
Did the chance to work under Diego Simeone play a role in your decision to join Atleti?
Yes, massively. I've watched Atlético in the Champions League over the years, and sometimes in La Liga, and the players they have here and Cholo [a] world-class manager – everybody knows that, and to learn off him, to play for him ...
I said in many interviews last season that I need to improve my defending, and there's no better person to learn from. To be honest, when [I knew that] Atlético were interested I didn't have to think twice. When I spoke to a few people back at Tottenham about the opportunity to play in Spain, La Liga, and to come to Atlético, I jumped straight at it.
In Atlético's stadium at the end of last season, you unfortunately were on the losing side of the UEFA Champions League final. Does that make you extra determined, having been in that situation before, to go on?
Yes, obviously it was disappointing. It was just an amazing achievement anyway to get to the final – obviously the circumstances with everybody in the media saying we wouldn't even get out of the group, to make the final was amazing. But like you said, obviously everybody wants to win the Champions League.
The role of right-back, your position, has changed over the years. When you were starting out, it's more the defensive-minded things, but then people like Dani Alves revolutionised the role. How have you found the change since you've come through as a full-back? And is it much different playing full-back in Spain compared with England?
I wouldn't say it's different really, because the intensity is just the same, if I'm being honest, in La Liga and the Premier League. Obviously the Premier League is an unbelievable league, but I've got to say La Liga is very difficult to play in.
But the similarities in the right-back position, I think it's just the same – it's about picking the right times to go forward – and I feel like last season I'd done that too much. This season I'm picking the right times, when to go, when not to go. And like I said, I've got the right staff around to help me with that.
Is it like you're almost relearning the role a little bit?
Yes, basically. Like I said, last season I got a bit too carried away with it, but this season it's all about training, building up for the games and working on it against the opposition, because every team is different. It's just sometimes you might have to stay back much more, depending on who you're playing.
Atlético have had some famous full-backs down the years. Juanfran, who is a legend here, and obviously Renan Lodi replaced Filipe Luís. Is it exciting being part of a new generation?
It is, because I've watched those players for years and they've been fantastic players. I'll try and do my best to get to that level that they were at throughout the years they were here. But yes, Lodi and I will always give our best when we're playing.
'Profe' Ortega is renowned all over the world for his fitness regimes. I imagine you found that quite hard, didn't you?
It was tough, very tough, but I feel all the training I've done over the years at Tottenham helped me out a lot because it was very difficult there, also with Jesús [Pérez] and obviously Mauricio [Pochettino]. When I came here, I felt very fit.
I had the five weeks' rest in the summer. So I felt ready to go but, yes, I got a bit of a shock because it was difficult. Don't get me wrong, it was very hard.
Germán Burgos is actually a qualified English teacher. How did he help you settle into life here and also the other players as well? I guess there are quite a few English speakers in the squad ...
Yes, there are a couple. There are a few who try to speak English. It was massive for when I first came here for the first training session. [Germán Burgos] was running around with me, positioning me right and translating everything to me.
This interview was conducted in September.