Graham Roberts has called on new Tottenham Hotspur head coach Nuno Espirito Santo to implement a similar system to what he used at Wolverhampton Wanderers due to a lack of trust in the club’s right-backs.
Nuno, who stepped down as Premier League rivals Wolves’ boss at the end of the season, was appointed as Jose Mourinho’s permanent successor on Wednesday.
The Portuguese head coach has taken over a Spurs side containing wantaway striker Harry Kane and a host of players low on confidence after finishing seventh in the Premier League last term.
During his four-year spell in charge at Molineux, Nuno regularly selected a trio of central defenders along with two wing-backs.
It is a system Spurs have not used often, with Mourinho and interim manager Ryan Mason usually opting for a back four, but Football London’s Alasdair Gold claims that Fabio Paratici convinced Daniel Levy by showing him videos of Nuno playing 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 systems from his time with Valencia.
But, with Serge Aurier committing a number of high-profile errors and Matt Doherty failing to make the right-back slot his own following last summer’s big-money move from Wolves, Roberts believes naming five defenders on the team-sheet would benefit Nuno in his first season at the helm.
Speaking exclusively to TIF, Spurs legend Roberts said: “I think we have to play a back five because we haven’t got a proven right-back. The two right-backs we have can go forward but they can’t defend.
“If I was Nuno, I would work all summer on showing them how to be a decent right-back. We’ve got Serge Aurier, who keeps giving away free-kicks, penalties and goals. Maybe it’s time for him to move on to pastures new. Matt Doherty has worked with Nuno before.
“Personally, I like the three centre-halves. I think if you’ve got a quick defender between the other two centre-halves, let them attack the ball. Then it’s up to the middle man of the three to read the game and then you should be solid. That gives you that little bit more attacking prowess, so I’m up for using a 3-5-2 formation.”