Noel Whelan has claimed that Japhet Tanganga could have trouble getting back into the Tottenham team after Emerson Royal’s strong performance against Aston Villa.
Emerson, who joined the club from Barcelona this summer, was handed a start against Dean Smith’s side on Sunday and played a key role in the 2-1 win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The Brazilian commanded the right-back position all afternoon against Villa, registering 86 touches while making seven clearances and four interceptions as Spurs ended their three-match losing streak in the Premier League.
The week prior, Tanganga earned a start over Emerson in the North London Derby defeat against Arsenal, but Nuno Espirito Santo opted for a change of personnel for the visit of Villa.
Emerson’s success at the weekend came at a cost for the 22-year-old Tanganga, who was left out of the squad altogether by the Spurs head coach.
The performance will now give Nuno a headache regarding who to have as his first-choice right-back, and former Premier League striker Whelan believes Tanganga could have a tough time getting back into the side after Emerson’s performance.
Speaking to Football Insider, he said: “I think he [Emerson Royal] could have the edge over Tanganga.
“You’ve got to be able to play the full role now – you’re not just a defender, you’re a midfielder and sometimes even a winger.
“He’s got to work box-to-box. There are many parts of that position where he’s fantastic, he ticks every single box. You can see how high he likes to get; he’s got a really good attacking presence.
“He wants to take people on and link up when he gets into those dangerous areas – but he can defend as well.
“He’s got the athleticism you need for the role with the amount of ground he covers. For me, he’s a natural. He’s the one they’ve brought in for this specific role.”
Spurs Web Opinion
Deciding who his starting right-back will be is a nice headache for Nuno to have, away from the results side of things. Emerson had a shaky couple of games while settling in at Spurs, but his showing against Villa is encouraging. Tanganga definitely has some competition now and will have to fight to make the position his own.
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