Matt Doherty, in the 92nd minute of Tottenham Hotspur’s complete 3-0 win over Leeds United, went in for a 50/50 challenge with Pablo Hernandez.
He was beaten to it and clipped the Spaniard’s foot in very lazy fashion – well aware of the fact he was already on a yellow card. As well all know, David Coote then showed the inevitable second yellow.
We all remember when Jose Mourinho used an expletive-laden rant to urge his players to be intelligent in the Tottenham documentary.
There was a brilliant photo of Doherty, leaning against the tunnel waiting for the game to end, with Mourinho scowling behind him, clearly thinking far from intelligent thoughts.
All of this kind of sums up the right-back’s start to life in North London.
In short, he isn’t doing enough. The 28-year-old hasn’t really left a mark on any of the 16 games he has featured in so far this season (Transfermarkt).
At Wolves, he had connotations of being a modern full-back, full of marauding runs and providing width down the right-hand side, but at Spurs, he’s been very disappointing in this regard.
Too often he is seen taking the safe option, avoiding taking on a man, or trying to influence the game in an attacking sense.
He hasn’t looked particularly comfortable in defence either. Often, he has faced difficultly shutting out opposing wingers even in the Europa League which – with all due respect – should be light work for a defender of his experience.
As with life, a balanced argument is fair. For Wolves – where he excelled– he was constantly played in a right-wing back role.
His focus was on how he could influence the attack, and in defence – he had reinforcements behind him in Willy Boly or Conor Coady.
In a back four for Spurs, his role has changed, and he looks uncomfortable. Maybe it’s a wait and see situation but the position change does look to be an issue.
However, if the signing of Doherty has resulted in any positives, it’s actually the influence on his rival, Serge Aurier.
Doherty’s arrival and the increased competition appears to have sharpened Serge Aurier’s focus. The Leicester mistake aside, the Ivorian has certainly cemented his mark as Tottenham’s best current right-back.
Doherty now has an uphill battle to turn his Tottenham career around. Let’s get one thing straight, he can by all means do it, he has the ability.
His story, so far, has been merely an interesting sub-plot to this crazy Premier League season.
Have something to tell us about this article?