There can’t have been many people who could have predicted Alan Hutton’s rise to first team prominence this season. With Hutton going out on loan to Sunderland last season, and Vedran Corluka making the right-back position his own, reports suggested that the Scot had no future at White Hart Lane.
However it was Hutton’s half-time introduction against Wolves that began to change his fortunes. Hutton’s attacking play from right-back netted him his first goal for the club and won Spurs the penalty that turned the game on it’s head. Hutton has been an ever present in the side since and is looking to cement himself as first choice full-back.
While Hutton’s resurgence has come as a bit of a surprise, his quality should never have been in doubt. Just after Juande Ramos signed him, Alex Ferguson revealed his admiration for the player saying: “He (Hutton) looks as though he will become a superstar once he gets that little extra bit of experience”. But soon after he joined, Hutton suffered a foot injury which saw him face around five months on the sidelines.
But should Hutton continue to fill the right-back position, or is Corluka the right man for the job?
There are a few different trails of thought in regards to this subject. While no one can deny that Hutton has made a huge impact since coming into the side, it is arguable that his style of play doesn’t compliment that of Aaron Lennon. Playing in front of an attacking full-back reduces the effectiveness of Lennon’s style of play and holes can be left in defense when he and Hutton are both making their forward advances. So in much the same way that Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s defensive capabilities compliment Gareth Bale’s attacking nature, Corluka plays well with Aaron Lennon. It is generally accepted that Corluka is the better defender of the two, and when you’re looking at putting together a back four that should really be the most important criteria.
But there’s also a case for choosing the right right-back for the right game, just like you would a midfield or a front-line and play Corluka or Hutton depending on the strength of the opponents. When Tottenham go to Old Trafford on Saturday, Corluka could be the better choice, but when a team comes to White Hart Lane to defend or play for a draw then Hutton, like he did against Wolves, could be the deciding factor.
When discussing the subject of who should play right-back for Spurs, young players Kyle Walker and Kyle Naughton shouldn’t be overlooked. Both were signed in July 2009 from Sheffield United as players for the future and are on loan at QPR and Leicester City respectively. Walker especially is highly regarded amongst Spurs fans and many believe that he will take over the right-back position in the seasons to come.
But for the immediate future the question remains. Should Hutton or Corluka get the position? What do you think?