Losing Kyle Walker to Manchester City in the summer was possibly a bigger blow to Tottenham than some might have expected. At the time, getting almost £50m felt like a steal for Spurs fans, whilst the presence of Kieran Trippier seemed to suggest that it was the north London club getting the better deal.
Since then, Walker’s performances for the league leaders haven’t just shown Tottenham what they’ve been missing, but also gifted City a large chunk of what they needed to become the footballing force this season. That’s the downside of selling to a top six rival.
Spurs have found a replacement in the form of Serge Aurier, however: a player who raised some eyebrows when he signed thanks to the headlines he’s made over the past few years off the pitch. But when he’s played this year, he’s often been integral to his side’s success.
This midweek was no different.
Not only is Aurier important to his team going forward, pitching in with three shots and two dribbles – all of which were completed – but his defensive contribution was also impressive, making three tackles in an all-round performance.
That’s the job of a modern full-back, of course.rse, especially in a Mauricio Pochettino side. It’s not just about defending anymore, nor even is it about attacking, too. It’s also about having the athleticism to get up and down the pitch all game as well as the technique to pick out a final ball or offer an outlet for the other attacking players. Aurier’s skillset it perfect, as was Walker’s.
That’s shown in the fact that the Frenchman is also winning aerial duels for his team, both in attacking and defensive situations. His physicality as well as his technical ability is clearly a huge asset to his team, and one that Spurs have lacked while he settled into the side and was rotated because of big games in the league and in the Champions League.
Over the next few weeks, as Spurs look to get their Premier League form back on track before perhaps going all in for the Champions League later this campaign, Aurier’s form could be crucial to Tottenham’s success.
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