Tottenham Hotspur right-back Matt Doherty is confident that he still retains the trust of manager Antonio Conte despite his lack of game time this term.
The former Wolverhampton Wanderers man has been unable to displace Emerson Royal in the Lilywhites XI and now has added competition for the right-wing back spot in the form of Djed Spence.
Dejan Kulusevski and Ivan Perisic are also capable of filling in at wing-back, leaving Doherty’s opportunities for starts in the Premier League and Champions League severely limited.
The Republic of Ireland international sustained a season-ending knee injury back in April against Aston Villa, but he became available for selection again in the summer.
However, Doherty has played a mere eight minutes in all competitions this season, coming off the bench for brief cameos against Southampton and Marseille.
Despite being an unused substitute in his side’s last six Premier League games, Doherty maintains an optimistic mindset and believes that he will become a more prominent member of Spurs’ first team once he has returned to full match sharpness.
“I’m not frustrated. I understand where the manager is coming from where he thought my fitness was and he was right at the end of the day,” Doherty told the Irish Mirror, as quoted by the Evening Standard.
“I know that he trusts me, I know that once I’m back again, he knows what I can do for him. Once he thinks I’m available, I’m sure he’ll give me more time.”
Doherty enjoyed a revival in the Tottenham lineup between February and April, coming up with two goals and two assists in seven Premier League outings before sustaining his knee injury.
The right-back has totalled two goals and nine assists from 57 outings in all competitions for Tottenham since being signed for a £15.1m fee by Jose Mourinho in the summer of 2020.
Despite his lack of Premier League action, Doherty has been called up to the Republic of Ireland squad for their Nations League matches with Scotland and Armenia on September 24 and 27 respectively.
Tottenham’s wing-back ranks will receive another boost for the 2023-24 season, as Destiny Udogie will aim to make a name for himself at Hotspur Way following the conclusion of his loan spell at Udinese.
The 19-year-old commanded a £16.2m fee towards the end of the summer transfer window, having only just signed for Udinese on a permanent basis from Hellas Verona.
Udogie penned a five-year deal at Tottenham before returning for one final season for Udinese, and he already has two goals from six Serie A appearances in the 2022-23 season.
The signings of Udogie and Perisic saw Tottenham sanction Sergio Reguilon‘s loan move to Atletico Madrid at the end of August, but he is yet to make an appearance for Diego Simeone‘s side due to a groin injury.