Tottenham Hotspur boss Antonio Conte will no doubt have a number of selection decisions to make ahead of tonight’s Champions League clash against Sporting Lisbon, with the Lilywhites in need of a positive result amid the fiercely contested battle for progression.
The north London outfit head into tonight’s meeting at N17 having slipped to a 2-1 defeat to Newcastle United on home soil at the weekend, ensuring that there is now just two points between themselves and the fourth-placed Magpies in the Premier League.
In need of a positive result to lift the mood at the end of a disappointing week for the north London club, the former Chelsea boss could seemingly aid his chances of victory by ditching Emerson Royal for the visit of Ruben Amorim’s side, with the Brazilian dud having underwhelmed once again at the weekend.
After enduring a disappointing debut campaign in the Premier League last term – having been described as “struggling to cope with the pace” of the league by former top-flight manager Alex McLeish – the former Barcelona man has remained Conte’s go-to selection at right wing-back this time around, despite the arrival of promising youngster Djed Spence.
The 23-year-old has started 12 games in all competitions so far this season having retained the trust of his manager, although that faith has seemingly been unwarranted with the £27m-rated man having provided just a solitary assist in that time.
His display against Eddie Howe’s side last time out seemingly epitomised the full-back’s time with Spurs to date, as the six-cap menace ‘provided a willing pair of legs’, although ‘as often is the case, was just missing that final ball’, according to football.london’s Alasdair Gold.
Such a limp performance drew stinging criticism from journalist Josh Bunting, who stated on Twitter: “Emerson Royal just isn’t good enough at all, he’s not Premier League quality whatsoever.
“Dreadful performance again today, decision making and just general football intelligence is simply dreadful. Maybe the worst player to play for Tottenham in my lifetime and I mean that.”
That may be a harsh assessment, although it no doubt rings true such is the lack of quality that Emerson has shown, with it hard to fathom just why the struggling dud has continually managed to secure a starting berth ahead of the likes of Spence and Matt Doherty.
As the old cliché goes, ‘the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result’, with it seemingly having come to a point where Conte must realise that he is unlikely to see much improvement from the floundering Brazilian full-back despite his continued persistence with the player.