Matt Doherty has thrown his name in the hat to become Antonio Conte’s first-choice right wing-back at Tottenham Hotspur after an emphatic display against Leeds United on Saturday afternoon.
Of course, some consideration needs to be made over the standard of opposition as the Yorkshiremen are the leakiest side in the Premier League but still, the manner of the Irishman’s performance makes him a much more appealing prospect than Emerson Royal.
Spurs thrashed the Whites 4-0 at Elland Road, thanks to goals from the 30-year-old defender, January signing Dejan Kulusevski, Harry Kane and Heung-min Son.
With one game in hand, it leaves the north Londoners on the cusp of breaching into the top five.
On top of finding the net – his first goal since arriving in a £15m deal from Wolves in August 2020 – the Jose Mourinho flop also provided an assist just five minutes after opening the scoring himself in the tenth minute.
As per SofaScore, the £10.8m-rated dynamo was also among the most influential players on the pitch, having registered 68 touches. From that possession, he made 40 accurate passes from 45 attempts (89%), delivered 100% of his crosses accurately and created two key chances.
Elsewhere, Doherty even registered three clearances, two interceptions, one block and won 100% of his aerial duels.
‘His best performance for the club,’ is how Evening Standard reporter Dan Kilpatrick described it in his post-match ratings column, where he graded him an 8/10, whilst The Athletic’s Jack Pitt-Brooke claimed there was “something utterly thrilling” about Doherty running in behind the defensive line.
The right wing-back position has long been problematic for Conte since he took over from Nuno Santo in November and that was evident in January as the Italian was thought to be keen on adding a new player in the role due to his doubts over Emerson, as per The Times.
Adama Traore was targeted before his stunning move to Barcelona, so the 52-year-old has to work with what he’s already got until the summer, at the earliest.
Therefore, it’s easy to see why Doherty could be the answer for the remainder of the campaign. Just as Press Association reporter Jonathan Veal said on social media: “Matt Doherty’s performance has shown he should be the man to go with at RWB until the end of the season.”