Former Coventry City forward Noel Whelan has come to the defence of Matt Doherty, insisting that the right-back is still capable of turning around his Tottenham career.
Doherty has failed to live up to expectations since his move to the club last summer, with the former Wolves man failing to establish himself as a starter in the side for a run of games.
The Republic of Ireland international recently admitted that he has not been happy with his performances this season and insisted there is more to come from him.
However, reports indicate that Jose Mourinho is running out of patience with the 29-year-old and the Spurs boss could decide to move him on at the end of the season.
Doherty has come in for a lot of criticism this season but Whelan believes that it is harsh to judge any player solely on this campaign due to the unique circumstances.
He told Football Insider: “It’s his first season. Sometimes it takes a player one season to adapt to a new lifestyle, new club, new surroundings, new manager.
“As much as it’s not been the season we might have expected from Doherty, we’ve got to give him the benefit of the doubt.
“If he’s still not doing it next season, then we can say it’s not been a great buy.
“It’s a strange old season, we’ve got to bear that in mind. When fans come back into stadiums, there might be a few players that start raising their game.
“Some players need fans, some players don’t. It’s a weird one. But I don’t think you can define a player based on one season.
“Right now, it’s not working. There’s no doubt about that. But give him a pre-season and then let’s see.”
Spurs Web Opinion
On the evidence of what we have seen so far, it does not appear as if Doherty is a good enough defender to play in a Jose Mourinho side. The 29-year-old is certainly much better going forward than he has shown this season but that could be down to a lack of confidence.
As Whelan points out, not every player always hits the ground running after joining a new club. So while one would not rule out Doherty from turning around his Spurs career, he needs to have a strong end to the season in order to still be at the club beyond the summer.
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