According to journalist Paul Brown, Tottenham Hotspur boss Antonio Conte is not convinced by wing-back duo Matt Doherty and Djed Spence so far this season.
The north London side have started the season very well, currently sitting in third place on 14 points. A big reason for this form is the tremendous squad rebuild by Conte and Fabio Paratici with their new signings and the players already at the club.
However, two players that have found it difficult to fight their way into the starting lineup so far this season are Doherty and Spence, despite the former playing 26 times for the club last season and the latter arriving in the summer.
While current starting right wing-back Emerson Royal has not necessarily nailed down the position, neither Doherty nor Spence has managed to replace him in the starting lineup.
It appears there may be a reason for this, as Brown told GiveMeSport that Conte is yet to be convinced by the pair as he likes to rotate and have at least two good options in each position of his team.
Brown said: “Conte clearly wants to rotate those positions, he always has done over the years, it’s been an area he regards in all of his teams.
“He likes to have two really good players in those positions that he can change without a drop-off in quality, but he’s a ruthless manager and if you’re not doing it in training, you won’t get a look-in.
“So I can only imagine he doesn’t see enough at the moment from Doherty or Spence to put them in there.”
TIF Thoughts on Brown’s comments…
So far this season, Doherty and Spence have each featured in just one game in the Premier League with a combined game time of five minutes. Doherty came on the first match of the season against Southampton and has not featured since, while Spence enjoyed a minute on the pitch during the side’s win over former club Nottingham Forest.
Royal has started in every game so far this season and chipped in with just one assist, which came in their first game against the Saints. Considering he has not set the world alight – even coming in for criticism at times – and is continuing to get far more game time than either Doherty or Spence, this does indeed suggest Conte does not trust either.
It is a fair evaluation from Conte, as Doherty struggled before the manager’s arrival last season, while Spence has no Premier League experience and is surely a player for the future rather than the answer right now.
Spence can afford to sit on the bench and learn from the likes of Ivan Perisic and Ryan Sessegnon this season, whereas Doherty could find himself up for sale next summer if he doesn’t improve his form when eventually given the opportunity.
Will Spence or Doherty break into the first team?