Could this be the start of a troubling period at Spurs?
Antonio Conte came out on Monday night to explain why Matt Doherty has not really been playing for Spurs this season.
Doherty is yet to start a game, with Emerson Royal being chosen to play ahead of him.
Conte explained that he is not seeing enough from Doherty, and that he is not playing the Ireland international because he “doesn’t want to lose”.
These comments are brutal, needless, and will only make things worse for both parties at the club. They are made even worse by the fact that Royal’s performances have not exactly been good enough to ensure his place in the team.
For weeks, Spurs fans have been begging Conte to try someone else out at right-wing back, but the Italian coach has refused. Be it Doherty or Djed Spence, who was one of the best full-backs in the Championship last season, Conte is uninterested.
Antonio Conte on Matt Doherty.
This entire situation is made even more confusing by the fact that when Doherty did break into the team last season, he played really well.
After Conte forced him out left, or left him on the bench, he finally made the position his own, before an injury ruled him out of the end of the season.
Since then, Conte is uninterested, and the Dubliner is suffering as a result. With Royal now suspended thanks to a silly red card picked up in a defeat to Arsenal, perhaps Doherty will be given a shot, but we wouldn’t bank on it.
But even if Conte is right, and Doherty isn’t doing enough in training to justify his place in the team, is there any need to speak so brutally in public about a player who is sitting on the bench?
Doherty has not come out and complained about a lack of gametime, and if anything he has spoken highly of Conte when asked, so this feels like an error of judgement from the manager.
Perhaps this is just a flash in the pan, but based on Conte’s past, this could be the beginning of him starting to lose patience in London.
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