The post-Christmas stretch in which Harry Kane wore a mask while nursing a broken nose will feature prominently in future recollections of Tottenham Hotspur's 2015-16 campaign. The club's homegrown talisman and top scorer hardly needed more help standing out from the pack. Nevertheless, the sight of Tottenham's masked hero valiantly taking on all obstacles set before him notably celebrating one goal against Arsenal by ripping his guard off as he charged away in celebration will live on among the defining images of a memorable season. Kane's team-mate Kieran Trippier wore a mask for Tottenham's latest meeting with their north London rivals, Sunday's 1-1 draw prior to the international break. For a player operating largely out of the limelight, the noticeable difference to his usual on-pitch appearance helped him stand out more than usual (in addition to its main medical function). But it was telling of his situation that it was maybe the main talking point of his 15-minute cameo.Trippier's status as a somewhat anonymous back-up man is not new. When he signed for Tottenham in the summer of 2015, he knew he would be competing with the established Kyle Walker for minutes at right-back (DeAndre Yedlin was also still at the club then but would soon be confirmed as a non-threat to this objective). The main appeal was moving to a side competing at the upper end of the Premier League and in Europe. "It's always been a dream of mine to play in the Premier League, and now being with a club regularly playing in Europe as well, I can't wait to get underway," Trippier told Tottenham's official website at the time. It was hardly revelatory stuff transfer announcements rarely are but the enthusiasm of a player who had impressed so much in a struggling Burnley side was promising. To succeed at an ambitious club, and in a competitive position, he needed to be confident he could make the most of the experience. "I'm very keen to perform in training every single day, do the best I can and hopefully get the nod from the gaffer," he went on to say. "Whenever I get a chance, I want to do well for the other players, the staff and, of course, the fans. The squad here is unbelievable. There's so much quality in the team, and I'm really looking forward to starting work in pre-season and being a part of that." The general template for Trippier's involvement we are witnessing again in 2016-17 was established over the course of that first season. On both occasions, he had to bide his time until after the middle of September for his first start, both coming at White Hart Lane. Last time out, it was a Europa League game against Azerbaijani outfit Qarabag. This year, it was an EFL Cup fixture versus League One team Gillingham. From there up until Christmas in the maiden campaign, it was a mix of cup and European opportunities with an occasional Premier League cameo thrown in. Heading into 2016, the demands of Spurs' hectic schedule saw him rotated more frequently with Walker, the covering man doing good work as the team's title challenge gathered serious momentum. Particularly notable performances included his first league start, against Watford, and the return game against the Hornets just over a month later. Manager Mauricio Pochettino's use of Trippier as a wing-back in the former match was brought to mind again by the use of a similar 3-5-2 against Arsenal. The greater attacking licence in the Watford game contributed to Trippier's assist for Heung-Min Son's winner, showing good composure after his first attempted cross had been blocked. It was back to a flat back four at the Lane, but Trippier's attacking qualities were again on show. He scored his first and, to date, only Spurs goal. "Dele [Alli] went down the left, and I thought to myself, 'just run up the field [and] try to get on the back stick,'" he told the Spurs site after the game, recalling the move. "That's what the manager wants to see, me playing as a right winger. It just fell to me, and I was delighted to score my first goal for Tottenham." Pochettino will want more from Trippier than for him to be about getting forward to support Spurs' attack and providing width. But that comment was perhaps revealing of the more offensive-minded role envisioned for him and why Walker has remained ahead of him in the pecking order. Trippier's last involvement in his first year with Tottenham was starting the March fixtures against West Ham United and Borussia Dortmund. Individually, there was little he could do in a tough ask versus a superior German side treating the Europa League last 16 more seriously than Pochettino did (his decision to rest certain players for the ongoing title tilt was understandable but regrettable). The performance in the 1-0 defeat to the Hammers was disappointing, though.In the final match between the two capital foes at Upton Park, Trippier looked lightweight and somewhat unprepared for the demands of such an intense occasion. Pochettino stuck with Walker for the rest of the Premier League season, with the England international providing more defensive solidity. This is the difficulty with playing infrequently. A player can do his best when called upon, but it is challenging to adjust to certain scenarios and improve in general without the regular minutes in which you can hone your game. Trippier's counterpart at left-back, Ben Davies, is into his third season at Spurs going through a similar experience. He too has helped motivate and cover for his positional rival, Danny Rose, but has had difficulty maintaining his own consistent form. It was no coincidence he performed so decently as a starter for Wales' familiar and settled defence in qualifying for and playing at Euro 2016. It is a burdensome aspect of Pochettino's job, something he is also finding out this season with promising youngsters Cameron Carter-Vickers, Josh Onomah and Harry Winks. He clearly rates them and values their contributions, but he cannot give them more substantial playing time with others ahead he either regards more highly or who are performing sufficiently well enough to keep their places. So far at least, Trippier and other back-up players have bought into the greater good of the team above individual concerns. Speaking after the 1-0 over Watford, Pochettino praised this spirit. "All of them want to help the team, and this is a gift for us," he said. "We play like a team and all enjoy and feel they are part of the success and will be part of the success of the club." As he had been at the start of his Tottenham career, by last May,Trippier's understanding attitude of his duties had not changed. "I knew it would be difficult competing with Kyle, and he's been brilliant," he told Spurs' website. "We're good mates, and we wanted to drive each other on. We can only try to make each other better players, and we have that competition throughout the squad." So far this season,Trippier's involvement has underlined both positives and concerns over his game. In the 5-0 win over Gillingham, a run reminiscent of the one against Watford won the penalty from which new striker Vincent Janssen scored his first Spurs goal. In Champions League starts away at CSKA Moscow and Bayer Leverkusen, he looked to create for the Dutchman and others with his typically testing array of crosses though against the Russian side, he wasted one of his best openings with an ill-advised shot. During pre-season the 26-year-old proved a steady influence, marshalling young defenders such as Carter-Vickers and Anton Walkes during their first substantial senior squad experiences. He is among Spurs' more animated players on the pitch, pointing where he wants the ball and directing team-mates. With greater responsibility, these are attributes that could flourish. Trippier is still working to tighten up his own defensive game, though. Against CSKA, he allowed Roman Eremenko and Georgi Milanov too much room on his right flank as they created chances for their side. At Leverkusen a few weeks later, he was caught between anticipating a cross and tracking lively centre-forward Javier Hernandez, choosing neither and ending up thankful to goalkeeper Hugo Lloris for his remarkable save. The Arsenal game was his first Premier League appearance of the campaign. Bar one good run for an ultimately offside chance, he was largely a passenger amid the to and fro of an absorbing derby's final minutes.Trying to make your presence felt in such crowded, competitive environments is the life of a footballer, especially at this high level.Trippier will continue to do his best here and hope, like last season, more shots at impressing occur in the coming months.