Tottenham Hotspur lost their first game of the season on Sunday, falling to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Everton.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s thumping header gave Everton all three points, with Tottenham turning in a rather dismal performance.
Jose Mourinho was hugely disappointed with his side’s performance, and his new signings weren’t able to make an impact.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg suffered a testing debut, whilst Matt Doherty didn’t exactly look comfortable at right back.
The 28-year-old played mostly as a wing back at Wolves, suiting his attacking style perfectly as he became a Premier League star.
He is now having to adapt his role at Tottenham, and he was often caught high up the pitch as Richarlison ran riot down the left flank.
Now, Stephen Kelly – a former Tottenham and Ireland right back – has told RTE that Doherty was ‘not like he normally is’ because he had no pre-season training.
Kelly believes that Doherty needs to get up to speed both fitness-wise and with his new position, urging caution as he adjusts.
“You can, for example, look to Doherty, a player normally in incredible condition,” said Kelly. “He didn’t have pre-season. He went direct from holidays to national team matches, no pre-season at all, not one single training session. He played two consecutive matches. Today, he was not Matt Doherty like he normally is.”
“Granted it was a slightly different position than what he played at Wolves because he’s a wing-back not a full-back. He’s usually got a marauding role, getting forward, linking up play, breaking into the box, pressing high up the pitch. He wasn’t able to do that in the same way at the weekend. He hasn’t had a pre-season, he has gone straight into games with Ireland which were probably deflating in some sense because it was his opportunity to come in and it was a fresh start for him to play for Ireland.”
“As a full-back… he will get forward, he’ll bob on as well, but he’ll have to adjust to that role. He’s more than capable. He’s definitely going to fit in there really well but it will take time to adjust,” he added.