The 2020-21 campaign is a “weird” litmus test for any new signing and Tottenham must show more patience with the stuttering Matt Doherty.
That is according to ex-Premier League forward Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about the right-back who was a £16million summer acquisition from Wolves.
This site revealed last Thursday that Wolves are open to re-signing the Republic of Ireland international for a reduced fee should the opportunity present itself.
The 29-year-old was expected to be Spurs’ first-choice right-back this season but has been forced to share duties with Serge Aurier and, to a lesser extent, Japhet Tanganga.
Whelan pointed out the “strange” nature of the current mid-pandemic campaign and urged Tottenham to give him another season to rediscover his form.
He told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs: “It’s his first season. Sometimes it takes a player one season to adapt to a new lifestyle, new club, new surroundings, new manager.
“As much as it’s not been the season we might have expected from Doherty, we’ve got to give him the benefit of the doubt.
“If he’s still not doing it next season, then we can say it’s not been a great buy.
“It’s a strange old season, we’ve got to bear that in mind. When fans come back into stadiums, there might be a few players that start raising their game.
“Some players need fans, some players don’t. It’s a weird one. But I don’t think you can define a player based on one season.
“Right now, it’s not working. There’s no doubt about that. But give him a pre-season and then let’s see.”
He has featured 27 times for Spurs so far, though he has only been named in the starting XI for 12 of the club’s 29 league matches.