Tottenham Hotspur signing Matt Doherty for £15 million in the summer transfer window looked to be a bargain at the time but after a questionable first few months with the North London club, some Lilywhites fans may have been quick to write the defender off.
The Republic of Ireland international found himself behind Serge Aurier in the pecking order under Jose Mourinho, with the Ivory Coast international clearly benefitting from the added competition at right-back.
Whilst the number of fixtures Spurs have had to play this season has meant that Doherty hasn’t been short of game time, Aurier has often been preferred in the Premier League, whereas the Irish defender has featured more regularly in cup competitions, having made 11 starts in the Premier League, averaging a solid, if unspectacular, 6.72 rating.
Aurier, meanwhile, has made 14 starts in the top-flight, averaging an impressive 7.03 rating, and perhaps would have made more if it wasn’t for the minor injuries that have kept him out on several occasions this season.
However, just as Doherty’s arrival has encouraged an upturn in form from Aurier, the Ivorian’s recent injury problems have seemingly been a factor in the 29-year-old’s improved performances at right-back.
After a disappointing performance in the 3-1 defeat to Liverpool in January, Doherty has bounced back and recorded impressive displays in recent weeks, with five out of six of his last performances in the Premier League seeing him rated above a 7/10 from WhoScored.
Although his assist for Harry Kane’s wonder goal against Crystal Palace on Sunday night was reminiscent of Tom Carroll’s assist for Gareth Bale in a 3-2 win against West Ham in 2013, it shows that Doherty is starting to get forward a lot more and replicate some of the form he regularly produced at Wolves.
As per SofaScore, against Roy Hodgson’s side, the right-back would register a 95% pass accuracy and impressively contribute three key passes, which shows that he is starting to become much more of an attacking threat in Mourinho’s side.
Considering he is now 29, it was something of a gamble for Levy to sign him on a four-year deal, but considering his recent performances, it looks like Spurs may actually have a real quality right-back on their hands, so that gamble looks to have paid off and it’s giving Mourinho a nice headache when choosing who to select between him and Aurier.