Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has told Kieran Trippier he still has a huge role to play in the club’s fight for Premier League survival as he battles to return to action before the end of the season.
The 31-year-old England full-back underwent surgery to repair the fractured fifth metatarsal in his left foot on Thursday and now faces a spell on the sidelines just weeks after his arrival on Tyneside following a £12million switch from Atletico Madrid.
Trippier has been in stunning form for his new club, scoring twice in his four league games to date – the second of them a winner against Aston Villa on Sunday – before injury struck, but his leadership skills have also been invaluable and head coach Howe is confident they will continue to be put to good use.
He said: “That’s the type of person that he is, he wants to make a difference, he wants to help and he wants to lead, so he’ll have a big impact even if he’s not playing.
“He’s a positive person. I think he was probably aware after the game that there was going to be an issue, I think he had this gut feel.
“He got stamped on and then he tried to play the second half, but he didn’t feel right, so he was aware there was a problem.
“But straight away, just his reaction to that wasn’t one of head down, he didn’t take himself away in isolation, he was very positive. He was around the players and giving off good energy, and that’s been him since day one here.
“The energy and positivity around him is infectious and it’s definitely affected the people he’s been around, hence a really positive reaction from the squad.”
Howe revealed Trippier’s operation, which came two days before the Magpies’ attempt to secure a fourth successive top-flight victory for the first time since April 2018 at West Ham on Saturday, was a success, but admitted the timescale on his return was uncertain.
He said: “We hope to see him before the end of the season, but in terms of a definitive time, no. We’re going to have to see how his early rehab goes.”
Howe first worked with Trippier during their time together at Burnley 11 years ago, and has been hugely impressed with his development both as a player and as a person since.
He said: “He’s an inspirational figure and certainly from knowing the young Kieran when I first started to work with him to the Kieran now, I think he’s changed and developed many facets, not just of his game, but his personality.
“I can’t compliment him enough on everything that he’s achieved in his career, how he’s gone about it to lead him to the person that he is now.”
Javier Manquillo will also be missing at the London Stadium with a minor ankle ligament problem, leaving Emil Krafth the next man in line to deputise at right-back.
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