When Tottenham Hotspur signed Matt Doherty in late August, Spurs boss Jose Mourinho was “so, so happy” to have snapped up a player who’d enjoyed such an “incredible career”.
With the Irishman joining Tottenham, it appeared as though Serge Aurier’s days at the club were numbered, reported interest from AC Milan suggesting he could’ve been on the move.
Three-and-a-half months on, however, and it looks like Aurier has overtaken Doherty as Spurs’ first-choice right-back, the Ivorian a better shout to start against Arsenal this weekend.
Aurier finished the 2020-21 campaign as the only senior recognised player at right-back, but inconsistency and errors affected some of his displays.
However, a combination of increased competition for places, Mourinho’s coaching and Aurier’s hard work have all culminated in the 27-year-old turning his career at Spurs around.
Doherty was given the nod in the XI against LASK in midweek but failed to stake a claim for a starting role in the North London derby.
He slipped and lost the ball in the build-up to the opposition’s first-half goal, gave the ball away a number of times and sadly looked off the pace.
With this in mind, it’s looking unlikely that Mourinho will pick Doherty against Arsenal, with Aurier having made a better case for his inclusion.
That said, whoever gets omitted from the XI will work extra hard on the training ground, and such intense competition for starting placs is just what Mourinho would’ve wanted.