Matt Doherty has insisted that while he feared his Tottenham career wasn’t working out, he never entertained the idea of leaving.
The full-back arrived at Spurs as a Jose Mourinho signing, looking to plug Tottenham’s problem position at right-back. Spurs have struggled with recruitment in that area following the exits of Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker.
Serge Aurier arrived as the initial replacement. However, Mourinho stamped his own mark on the right-back role and brought in Republic of Ireland international Doherty.
Nevertheless, the 30-year-old has not had the smoothest career at Tottenham. He has had to battle with Aurier and more recently Emerson Royal. Nuno Espirito Santo signed the Brazilian at right-back in 2021.
However, Doherty seems to have found his feet under Antonio Conte. He has featured in each of Tottenham’s last six Premier League games, contributing two goals and four assists.
Reports linked him with a move away from Spurs in January. But, Doherty insisted that he has always focused on improving his Tottenham career.
“I didn’t come close [to leaving],” the full-back told the Evening Standard. “I never had a conversation, nothing was ever said to me.
“From my point of view I was led to believe that I wasn’t going anywhere. I don’t know if that’s the case, that is what my point of view was.
“You have thoughts at times that it wasn’t working out, I just decided that I wanted to train hard and I wanted to play here.”
Doherty added: “Why would I want to go anywhere apart from Tottenham?
“I thought if I keep training hard and I keep doing what the manager wants the opportunity would come and it would be up to me to grasp the opportunity and at the moment I seem to be doing that well.”
Doherty‘s contributions have proved vital of late, with Spurs winning three league games in a row for the first time since Conte took over in November.
Doherty resurgence after January links
Not only did Doherty have links with a move away from Spurs, but reports claimed that Conte wanted to sign Adama Traore.
Conte targeted the Wolves star – who eventually moved to Barcelona on loan – to play right wing-back in his team.
However, Spurs could not get a deal over the line and Doherty has since been spurred on to fight for his place.
Emerson Royal is now the player struggling for game time. While Doherty has played at least 80 minutes in each of the last six league matches, Emerson has spent two of those on the bench.
Against Newcastle on Sunday, both players featured in the 5-1 win. Doherty played on the left, with Emerson on the right.