Newcastle: Kieran Trippier injury could be disastrous – Jermaine Jenas analysis

MOTD2 analysis

It would be disastrous for Newcastle if Kieran Trippier’s foot injury is serious – yes, he is already that important to them.

Hopefully the problem he suffered in Sunday’s win against Aston Villa is just a bit of bone bruising and it will only be a couple of weeks until he’s back in action, because any longer and the effects of his absence would run deeper than just a talented individual missing a few games.

Trippier has obviously scored a couple of excellent goals for Newcastle this week, but there’s a much bigger picture to what he has brought to the club since joining last month than just his brilliant free-kicks.

Kieran Trippier scores Newcastle's winner against Aston Villa

As well as his ability, I’m talking about his personality – and the impact he has had on his team-mates to help them start to turn around the situation they are in.

I didn’t play with Trippier at Tottenham because I had left before he joined, but I know plenty of people who did.

They have told me what he is like – someone who keeps a level head in the dressing room and is also a calming influence to have around you on the pitch, with or without the ball.

You can tell how highly thought of he already is at Newcastle because Magpies manager Eddie Howe made him captain for the Villa game when Jamaal Lascelles was unwell. I can understand why.

Trippier is not someone who gets too high or low, so what the club is going through will not affect him – and you know you can rely on him to help others deal with any difficult moments during games.

Magpies would miss ability and assurance

Kieran Trippier had to come off after 48 minutes against Aston Villa

We were talking about the Magpies’ January signings in the Match of the Day office before Sunday’s game and the key word for all of them is that they have got character.

From a player’s point of view, they are the type of people you want around you in the dressing room and on the pitch.

Trippier spearheads that, in my opinion, as someone who has played at the very highest levels of club football and in some of the biggest games on the international stage for England.

As a person, he is very steady and not someone who goes around screaming and shouting. As a player, he offers you something a bit special too.

Newcastle have lacked a couple of things in their team for a few years now – quality is the main thing, and he assures you of that.

Character is another, and when I say that I mean players being able to deal with difficult moments like the ones they are facing pretty much every week at the moment. He brings that too.

After hearing what Trippier is like, I gained more of an understanding of why England boss Gareth Southgate took him to last summer’s European Championship as well as the 2018 World Cup.

That ability and assurance is exactly what Newcastle would miss without him, and he would be a huge loss – they need him because they are still in a relegation battle, despite winning three Premier League games in a row.

Solid – for the first time in a while

Graphic showing Newcastle's starting XI v Aston Villa: Dubravka, Trippier, Burn, Schar, Manquillo, Willock, Shelvey, Joelinton, Fraser, Saint-Maximin, Wood

Sunday’s win over Villa was not pretty but there was a fight there from Newcastle that they will need more of in the next few weeks, with or without Trippier in the team.

There was grit and determination to see the game out and, as well as steel at the back, there was a bit of belief too.

There have been games this season where I have watched Newcastle and have fully expected them to concede at certain times in games. It has felt like the fans and players have too.

This time, it was different. Against Villa they looked like a team who knew what they were doing defensively.

There was a defiance about the performance and that is what got them a clean sheet and the three points that have given them a bit of breathing space above the bottom three.

They were able to dig in and were solid, which has not been a word I’ve used to describe them for a very long time.

Snapshot of the bottom of the Premier League: 15th Leeds, 16th Everton, 17th Newcastle, 18th Norwich, 19th Watford & 20th Burnley

Improvement still needed up front

Sunday’s defensive display is something Newcastle can build on, and take into their next two games which are both on the road – away at West Ham United and Brentford.

I still feel the Magpies have got to improve in attack, however, and their winning run should not cover up the fact their £25m striker Chris Wood still hasn’t scored in four games.

I know he is there as a target man who leads the line and gives them a presence up front but that’s not what Newcastle need while Callum Wilson is injured – they need goals.

Wood hurried a couple of his finishes against Villa but he is not the only striker to turn up at a new club and take a bit longer than people expected to get off the mark.

I am sure he will score soon but I still don’t think he is the man to get them five or six goals between now and the end of the season, and you have to ask who is that guy going to be?

Wilson would have been, but I don’t see him anywhere else. Joelinton will not do it and neither will Allan Saint-Maximin.

Without that goalscorer in your team, you are relying on the goals coming from elsewhere – the centre-halves getting you some, a Trippier free-kick when he is fit or a long-range special from Jonjo Shelvey.

Those things won’t happen every week – even Trippier cannot keep on doing it – so I don’t think winning games is going to get any easier for Howe’s side just because they have finally found a way of doing it. They are certainly not going to just march up the table from here.

Their biggest attribute at the moment is their form and momentum, which has brought them belief. They are in a positive frame of mind because they are winning games of football for the first time this season.

That positivity will probably be their biggest weapon when they play West Ham next weekend. The longer they can keep hold of it, the better.

Jermaine Jenas was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

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