This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Ahead of the new season, Darren Bent has singled out Matt Doherty for praise as he spoke to Football Insider about the defender’s qualities.
Wolves have been superb in pre-season, defeating Newcastle 4-0 in the Premier League Asia Trophy before beating Manchester City on penalties too.
That was followed up by a return to European action as they beat Crusaders 2-0 at Molineux last week.
One of the players who wasn’t involved due to injury was Doherty, who was replaced by Adama Traore. However, rather than focus on the goal-scoring heroics of Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez last season, Bent raved about the Irishman instead to Football Insider. He said:
“I’m going to pick someone who’s under-the-radar a little bit, because everyone is talking about Jimenez, everyone talks about Jota and Ruben Neves, but I like Matt Doherty.
“For a full-back, he is brilliant.
“He’s key to the way they play and for me he’s been brilliant for the last couple of seasons.”
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There’s certainly no denying how key he is to Wolves’ style. Nuno Santo has preferred a three-man defence with Doherty and Jonny at wing-back since arriving in the Premier League and the former was certainly pivotal last term.
However, there might well be the challenge of fatigue for the 27-year-old to overcome in 2019/20.
Last season he played in all 38 matches in the top-flight, rarely being dislodged in the side. However, with just Traore behind him in the pecking order it’s likely that he’ll have to play the majority of the matches once again.
This is a player who featured six times in the FA Cup last season as well and with the possibility of a run in the Europa League on the horizon, fitness could become an issue.
He is the only natural right-wing back in the squad and once he’s back from injury it’s likely that he’ll be thrust straight back into the action.
Check out the reaction to Wolves’ first European game since the ’80s in the video below…
Playing in both the Premier League and Europa League on a regular basis will be a huge challenge for Doherty who will be coming off the back of a campaign where he played 46 matches across 2018/19 for club and country.
Considering Wolves haven’t signed anyone in his position, the task will be even more demanding for the full-back.
Whether he can cope with the workload only time will tell.