Tottenham Hotspur star Ryan Fredericks has credited former head coach Tim Sherwood with his development as a player.
Now on loan at Middlesbrough, Fredericks cites Sherwood as the man who urged him to become a defensive player having started as an attacking and aggressive winger.
“I used to be an attacking right winger and in the last two or three years I’ve slowly adapted to being a defender,” he told the Northern Echo.
“It was Tim Sherwood at Spurs; he saw how defenders these days were getting forward and playing like wingers and he was the one that pushed me into becoming a defender.”
One common trait of a modern full-back is the ability to get up and down the wing throughout a game, creating extra width for the midfield to use if a side is under pressure.
Fredericks has been unfortunate at Spurs because of the consistency shown by Kyle Walker, Kyle Naughton and also with Eric Dier’s ability to cover on the right hand side of defence.
“I had a few questions about it, I was thinking ‘I can’t really defend’ and it took time to learn how to defend but over the last season and a half I feel I’ve really learned how to play the position.”
The 22-year-old has already made a decent impact at his current Championship employers and will be looking to continue to develop throughout the season.
His career with Spurs certainly isn’t over because had Mauricio Pochettino not seen traits in him that he liked, he would have more than likely commissioned a permanent move away for him.
He had doubts related to Fredericks’ comments over his own worries about how good a defender he is and a long loan spell will allow him to work hard on the defensive side of his game.
It’s now up to him to prove that he can be consistent over the course of the season and put pressure on Pochettino to come back into the first team fold for the next campaign.
If he eventually gets that opportunity in the Tottenham defence then it will all be because of the change Sherwood prompted in the first place.