Naughton - an undervalued resource

Kyle Naughton takes a lot of stick but when you consider the job he does, covering for Kyle Walker and the left-back slot, he is under pressure all the time.

Naughton - an undervalued resource


He sits on a bench and trains and over the last few years you would have expected him to play more than he has with Europa League football and the domestic cups. He had spells a few years ago where he was a reasonable right-back, vulnerable to a tricky winger yes, but reasonable none the less.

The trouble he has had though is that our centre-backs seem to have been permanently injured and there have been time when Walker has had to play every game, Naughton has had to be shunted to play out of position on the left. Playing left-back is harder for a right footer, it.s easier for a winger to wrong foot you and attack your weaker side.

Being under that pressure and receiving the ball near the touchline with nobody to pass to gives him few options. Maribor I think it was springs to mind, in such a position he played it back to Lloris who promptly made a howler and they scored.

Not Naughton's fault but it can't do his confidence any good, neither can filling in and knowing no matter how good you do you will be dropped. Unhappy with his lot he complained he may have to leave to get regular football, coincidence struck and Walker was out for the remainder of the season and Naughton had a run in the side, eventually having only 5 outfield play more minutes than him throughout the season.

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It wasn't brilliant, there were mistakes but having someone who can do a job and sometimes do it well on low wages helps the squad. Spurs can only afford so much on our wage bill, we can't have two world class players in every position so the Kyle Naughton's of this world are valuable.

The run he had will have given him confidence, reaffirmed his importance not only to the squad but to himself as well. There have been no noises, no suggestions he may leave, there are no stories that anyone has come in for him. Football agents know who is moving, who can move , who may move and who won't move, maybe this summer Naughton is in the last category and agents know he is going nowhere.

If we can sort out our centre-backs, get some fit and get some decent ones, then perhaps with all the games we now have to play he will get his fair share. FA Cup and League Cup are the obvious ones but resting Walker and playing Naughton in the Europa League is surely a sensible move. Leave Walker at home and let Naughton have all the away trips in the group stages gives him game time and keeps Walker fresh for the Premier League.

The same needs to happen with a few positions. If we get a left-back in then Rose can have the cups and Europa League as well as shuffling the pack at centre-back. Harry Kane can get a few more games, we have to find the right mix, the squad should be big enough and the players good enough.

"When you get a new manager you can't really get used to playing his style unless it's in a realistic game situation, so that will be one of the main things to get out of the tour.
"You can really put the style of play that he wants into practise and that's obviously one of the main things the friendlies are about.
"Fitness is another big thing that you can get out of these games, and also team spirit."

The World Cup has shown that you don't have to be a star to play at the highest level, you need to be a team, you need to do your job within the team. If your team mates are letting you down then it can mentally affect you. I remember a game last season where Paulinho scored and promptly missed a tackle in midfield from which the opposition scored, it may have been the Southampton game at White Hart Lane with the Naughton non header!

It will be an important season for Naughton, a new head coach, a new style, one that calls for attacking full-backs with the pace to get back. Keeping him involved early before Christmas will have long term benefits later in the season with Walker being fresher.

I hope he can now kick on and eradicate some of the errors.



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