Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte is likely to keep playing Emerson Royal as his first-choice wing-back if the Brazilian can keep up his impressive form.
That is according to journalist Pete O’Rourke, who was speaking to This is Futbol about the latest news from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Royal’s future looked to be in doubt heading into the beginning of the Premier League campaign after Spurs shelved out on a deal which could potentially rise to £20m for Middlesbrough and England U21 right-back Djed Spence.
However, the seven-time Brazil international has been selected to start in each of Spurs’ seven fixtures in the Premier League and Champions League by Antonio Conte this season, suggesting that the right wing-back slot is his to lose at the moment.
And O’Rourke believes that Royal is likely to continue to be selected whilst Spence gets used to the way Spurs play.
He said: “I’m sure Antonio Conte will continue with Emerson Royal if he continues with his top performances.
“It will take a while for Djed Spence, maybe, to get used to how Tottenham play and what Antonio Conte wants from his wing-backs.
“[There’s] still plenty of time ahead for Djed Spence to get into that team but he’s [Conte] going with form at the minute, and Emerson Royal is doing quite well.”
TIF Thoughts on O’Rourke’s comments
We agree with O’Rourke and believe that Conte has been dealt no reason to drop Royal as it stands, due to his impressive run of form coinciding with Tottenham’s unbeaten Premier League start to the season.
The 23-year-old has been extremely impressive in a defensive sense so far this season, and this is shown that he ranks in the top 2% of full-backs across Europe’s top five leagues and European competition for clearances per 90 minutes (3.26) over the last 365 days, as well as the top 4% for pressures per 90 (18.94) and the top 6% for tackles (3.20), according to FBref.
Therefore, we believe that as it stands, the only reason Conte would drop Royal is purely for squad rotation and fitness purposes, with the full-back enjoying an impressive start to the campaign.