Matt Doherty is a rare sight for Republic of Ireland supporters as a regular member of the squad playing at the top end of the Premier League. Due to the current dearth of top quality in Ireland’s ranks, Doherty is perhaps the most recognisable figure, plying his trade for Tottenham after completing a move from the Wolves in 2020.
He’s a been solid figure in the backline and will now link up with his former manager Nuno Espirito Santo at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as the Portuguese joined the full-back in making the journey to north London. Spurs were frustrated in their attempts to hire a replacement for Jose Mourinho, failing to land a number of candidates before Nuno accepted the post. If you’re looking to predict the Premiership, Tottenham are far from title contenders after taking a step back last season, but there could be interest in their odds and hopes for a top-four finish if they regain their form that dipped under Mourinho.
The next two years are crucial for the development of the team, and notably for Doherty as he seeks to establish himself as one of the leading full-backs in the top flight. Doherty will have watched with envy as many of his teammates, including Harry Kane and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, competed into the latter stages of the Euro 2020. He will be hopeful, along with the rest of Ireland, that Stephen Kenny and his men will be competing in the next major tournament at the 2022 World Cup.
Doherty could even be the face of the Ireland team entering the competition if they are able to turn their fortunes around. The 29-year-old played the best football of his career under Nuno at Wolves, impressing at the back with his resilience, but also his ability to drive forward down the right flank, scoring goals and creating opportunities for his teammates. That prowess was checked by the style of Mourinho, and although Nuno does share a lot of tactical similarities with his compatriot, Doherty certainly loved playing under the Portuguese at Molineux.
Spurs were too reliant on the form of Kane and Son Heung-Min last season. The modern way of playing has seen the rise of the wing-back, as evidenced by the performances from the likes of Luke Shaw, Joakim Maehle, and Leonardo Spinazzola during the Euros. Doherty will be relishing the prospect of emulating their performances in the Premier League, should Nuno release the shackles on Tottenham next term.
Doherty will be out to cement his place in the Ireland rearguard and perhaps emerge as a potential leader for his country in the mould of Andy Robertson for Scotland. Seamus Coleman currently holds the armband, but his fitness problems have been longstanding.
Kenny may be on the lookout for a new man to take his team forward and turn around their World Cup qualifying campaign. If he becomes a standout at the top of the Premier League with Spurs, there could be no better candidate than Doherty. It will be fascinating to watch a potential resurgence for the wing-back under Nuno.