Former England international Paul Ince believes Kieran Trippier is being unfairly blamed for Tottenham Hotspur’s recent dip in form by the club’s fans.
The right-back did not travel to Dortmund for the midweek Champions League last 16 second leg tie.
Tottenham took a 3-0 first-leg lead to Germany following a commanding performance at Wembley, for which Trippier was on the bench.
The England international then missed the 2-1 Premier League defeat to Burnley but returned for the 2-0 loss to Chelsea and Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal.
Ince now believes that Tottenham fans are blaming Trippier for the club’s poor form since beating Dortmund at Wembley.
And he claimed that when fans turn on one player, it is usually an Englishman on whom they pin their frustrations.
“There is always a scapegoat,” Ince told BBC 606.
“When teams like Tottenham have done so well this season, it was only three or four weeks ago we were talking about them still being in the title race.
“All of a sudden, they have had a terrible, terrible week and the fans always seem to look at the scapegoat and it always seems to be the English or British player. It does.”
And Ince used the example of another England international to prove his point.
“I remember (Ross) Barkley at Everton, exactly the same thing,” he argued.
“It’s never the foreign players who are getting dug out.
“He (Trippier) has been outstanding this season.”
The Tottenham defender has made 29 appearances for Spurs this season, scoring once and registering four assists.
That has come off the back of Trippier playing a key role in England’s run to the semi-finals, including his free-kick strike against Colombia in the quarter-final.
Ince’s comments suggest Tottenham fans have made a connection between his absence against Dortmund and his return for subsequent matches coinciding with a poor run of form.
While he was not at his best against either Chelsea or Arsenal, the former player turned pundit has a point – it is not fair to claim Trippier alone is at fault for Tottenham’s problems.