Michael Owen has suggested Tottenham Hotspur stars Emerson Royal and Matt Doherty have taken the club backwards.
Former Liverpool and Manchester United star Owen made the claim during Optus Sport’s coverage of the Premier League game between Spurs’ and Wolverhampton Wanderers, a game which saw Spurs lose 2-0 and condemned them to a third defeat on the bounce.
Owen highlighted right wing-backs Royal and Doherty, both players signed in the last couple of years, as analysed how the pair showcased how Spurs had regressed as a club.
The Ballon d’Or winner also compared them to when Spurs employed both Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier, who have both gone on to win league titles with the clubs they joined.
As quoted by HITC, he told Optus Sport: “I used to look at Spurs, four, five, six years ago and think wow, how many good full-backs do they have. Now I look at them, I can’t see anything. Right-backs are poor, both of them.
“Doherty and Emerson Royal, don’t rate those two. They’ve gone backwards. In Kane and Son, they’ve got a couple of world-class players, but they’ve got some dross elsewhere.”
Former Wolves defender Doherty was signed by Spurs as their replacement for Trippier. But when he failed to impose himself on the starting xi, the club then saw fit to buy Barcelona right-back Royal this summer. A move they are now most likely regretting given some of his performances.
Spurs boss Antonio Conte was very vocal about his desire to invest in the squad and upgrade his options at right wing-back, something the club’s directors failed to address in the January window.
It should be safe to say both will be moved on before long if Spurs can make appropriate deals to sell them and appropriate deals to upgrade the position. Under Conte the wing-backs are a crucial cog, and unless they are upgraded on Spurs will fall short of their objectives under the Italian.
As it stands, the defensive frailties Spurs continue to show in defence could well cost them as top four place this season.