Former Leeds United striker and now BBC pundit, Noel Whelan, isn’t shy when it comes to giving his opinions this season and he’s now a regular fixture on a number of clubs’ news feeds when it comes to his thoughts, and Tottenham Hotspur are proving to be no different.
His latest gambit, during the September international break, has been to savage manager Mauricio Pochettino for his decision to allow Kieran Trippier to move on for what many believe was £20million over the summer.
With Serge Aurier out of favour, Kyle Walker-Peters and Juan Foyth out injured, we saw Davison Sanchez fill in on the right side of defence in the recent North London Derby draw with Arsenal and in true pundit fashion, Whelan’s head appeared to explode at Pochettino’s decision to play the 23-year-old Colombian out in that position.
“He put a square peg in a round hole and it didn’t work. Davinson Sanchez is a good centre-back, but he doesn’t have the attributes to play at right-back. The modern right-back has to be able to defend, but he is also part-midfielder and part-winger. He needs to bomb up and down the flank, support the attacks and help create goals. Sanchez is never going to do that and it was really strange to play him at right-back. I find it a bit baffling that a club like Tottenham don’t have a right-back who is better than Sanchez. Pochettino obviously doesn’t rate Serge Aurier and his decision to sell Kieran Trippier for £20million is looking stranger by the day. What on earth is he thinking?”
Whelan’s words will find favour with some in the fanbase, but I can equally question ‘what on earth’ is he thinking when it comes to factoring in the unknowns that led to Sanchez having to fill in. The injuries, Aurier’s presumed form being the reason why he has been overlooked, given the fact that KWP is clearly Poch’s preferred choice there at this moment in time but he’s unavailable.
It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and take potshots, but reading his words, I think it shows Whelan’s lack of knowledge as he presents it as being a deliberate decision, or an experiment, as opposed to a choice Poch was forced into given the circumstances.