It’s been a tough season for Tottenham Hotspur summer signing Matt Doherty, and things went from bad to worse on Saturday evening.
The 29-year-old right-back joined from Wolves in a £15m deal and has struggled to live up to expectations, so much so that Serge Aurier and Japhet Tanganga have often been preferred by Jose Mourinho.
There have even been claims that the Portuguese boss is prepared to put the defender up for transfer in the summer should his form not vastly improve, as per ESPN’s senior writer James Olley.
It’s also suggested in that report that the Spurs boss has been seen berating Doherty for his performances at times, notably against Liverpool, in which they were defeated 3-1 at Anfield.
The international break was perhaps a nice opportunity for the Irishman to step back from Spurs duties and deliver a statement that he can still forge a career in north London.
But on a night the Republic of Ireland were embarrassingly beaten, Doherty’s struggles continued.
Stephen Kenny’s side were humiliated by Luxembourg in their second World Cup qualifier, meaning their hopes of making the 2022 edition are all but over already.
The Boys in Green’s intent was shown from the off as both wing-backs, including Doherty, lined-up on the halfway line for kick-off with Kenny clearly wanting them to be on the front foot.
But Doherty’s showing lasted just 45 minutes before Ireland were defeated.
The £16.2m-rated dynamo was withdrawn after injury but it’s not as if he was fulfilling the attacking impetus Kenny was looking for whatsoever.
As per SofaScore, the former Wolves star was graded as Ireland’s worst defender with a rating of 6.7, which is a surprise considering the backline leaked a goal to lowly Luxembourg.
In 45 minutes, Doherty failed to make a single tackle, interception or block, which is fair game considering the home side were expected to dominate the encounter but nor did he contribute in the final third, as he didn’t make a single cross, key pass, dribble or even attempt a shot.
Aside from making 32 passes, you would’ve hardly noticed him on the pitch.
The latest knock could now add further salt to his wounds as game time may be harder to come by, having been restricted to only 15 league appearances this term.
Mourinho will surely be far from impressed with his nightmare evening and now the subsequent injury blow, too.