Tottenham defender Kieran Trippier accepts he cannot do anything to change his poor performances this season other than to make sure he goes out on a high in the Champions League final.
The right-back has been axed from England‘s Nations League squad for next week’s finals in Portugal after a disappointing personal campaign, with boss Gareth Southgate opting to take Kyle Walker and Trent Alexander-Arnold ahead of him.
The 28-year-old, who has been heavily linked with a close-season move to Napoli, was one of the stars of the World Cup last summer – scoring in the semi-final in Russia – but niggling injuries and a gruelling schedule have had an impact this season.
He has made several key errors and his contribution in attacking areas has also been below his usual standard.
Still, he has been part of a Spurs team that has made it to the Champions League final, where they will take on Liverpool in Madrid.
“I have had a lot of groin injuries, I have been struggling with my groins for a number of months now,” said Trippier, before his England omission.
“It has been affecting me, annoying me, but there has been so many games – Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday – so it has been difficult to do my rehab and properly focus on it.
“I have said it in many interviews that it has not helped, obviously with the World Cup in the summer and coming back and playing straight away…
“The season has gone now, I have to accept the way I have played this season, I know I can play so much better.
“But it’s about accepting it, looking back and reviewing it like I always do after every game. It has happened, the way I have played. There’s one big game left, if I play I can give everything to the team to help us win.
“Watching it from such a young age, the Champions League is the biggest club final you can win, to win this for this club and everything that we have given this season, the circumstances we have had, Wembley, injuries, it will be a good way to finish the season.”
Boss Mauricio Pochettino suggested earlier in the season that Trippier’s problems were due to him playing in the third-place play-off in Russia despite having a groin injury, but he has had no choice but to continually pick his right-back owing to a packed schedule and crippling injury list.
But Trippier has not played since the Champions League semi-final second leg against Ajax three weeks ago and he is now feeling in good shape.
He added: “It has been a difficult season with injuries. I have had different types of injuries, it feels like these three weeks have enabled me to recover and manage it properly without so many games.
“We’ve had like three games a week and it has been difficult to manage that.
“But now I have had three weeks to properly settle down and do my rehab on it and I am feeling fit and ready and hopefully I will get the nod to play.
“The last few weeks has been about training hard and giving everything in training and showing the manager that you deserve to play.”