New boy Tendayi Darikwa is flattered by comparisons to the departed Kieran Trippier - but the former Spireite doesn’t want to live in the full back’s shadow.
The 23-year-old provided the assist for Sam Vokes’s equaliser against Leeds United at Elland Road on his debut and featured for the duration in the Capital One Cup loss against Port Vale midweek.
Darikwa acknowledges that he’s got big boots to fill following the exit of 2012 Player of the Year Trippier, who was inducted in to the PFA Championship team of the year twice, but he wants to start his own legacy at Turf Moor.
“It doesn’t add pressure to me,” he said. “I don’t know Kieran - but obviously I know he’s a good player which is why he’s gone to the level he has. I try not to compare myself to anyone - I try and base my game on what I am and what I can do. It’s nice to be compared to somebody who has gone on to the next level but I want to show the people here what I can do.
“I like to get forward and get crosses in to the box. I also need to make sure that we’re getting clean sheets as well because that’s my job as a defender. I haven’t got the clean sheet yet but thankfully I got the assist for Vokesy.”
For now Darikwa is fully focussed on making the right back spot his own, knowing that one-time Aston Villa defender Matt Lowton will add competition for places on his return from injury.
“For me coming in to the football club I knew Matty Lowton was here and he’s a quality player in my position,” Darikwa said. “Unfortunately for him he got an injury but being fit I had to be ready to play when I came through the door. It’s an opportunity for me to show what I can do and hopefully I can keep the shirt for as long as I can.
“I think the general quality of the football is a lot higher than what I’ve been used to over my career so far. I think the tempo in the games is slightly quicker as well. I think when you go in to any competitive game everybody is working hard to get the three points though.
“I feel it’s something I can adapt to pretty quickly. I wouldn’t have signed for the football club if I didn’t feel that I could make the step up. Hopefully I can show that in the games to come.”
Darikwa is likely to start against Birmingham City on home soil on Saturday (kick-off 12-30 p.m.) and he’s eager to keep shaping his partnership with George Boyd down the right hand side.
“It will be nice to get out in front of the fans and hopefully we can make it a good day with three points,” he said. “It will be nice to play in front of a full house and get the win.
“I’ve watched a lot of Boyd over the years with highlights on TV so to be playing with him is a bit surreal. I’m enjoying playing with him and hopefully we can get a good partnership together. Every time you play with quality players that out-shines everything.
“Personal relationships don’t really get involved too much on the football pitch so when quality plays alongside quality it matches. Hopefully we can keep putting in some good performances together.”