Matt Doherty faces a “real fight” to win his place back in the Tottenham starting XI back from Serge Aurier.

That is the view of former Premier League striker Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after Aurier scored his second goal of the season against Sheffield United on Sunday.

The Ivory Coast international seemed to have lost his place in the starting XI after giving away a needless penalty in their 2-0 defeat to Leicester City last month.

However, summer signing Doherty has not made an appearance in the league since he was sent-off for two bookable offences against Leeds United earlier this month.

Asked by Football Insider why Doherty had struggled in north London, Whelan said: “It’s never easy leaving a club and going to a new club and adapting. He’s an international player, you’re playing in a group of lads there with excellent ability. He should be relishing this opportunity and shining through.

“I know he’s had certain issues with his discipline for his sending off and some injuries along the way.

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“But you’ve got to hold your hands up to Aurier – he’s stepping up just when we thought he’d be off. A bit like Tanguy Ndombele. He’s shown a bit of fight, a bit of character. Now he’s showed he won’t be number two. He wants that number one shirt. He wants to be on that team sheet week in, week out.

“Doherty has a real fight on his hands. No new signing at a club wants to be second fiddle. Right now, he is. Aurier, with a goal on the weekend, will definitely keep his place for the next game.

“There’s a real scrap going on there for places, which I love. He just has to make Aurier work hard and make sure he keeps up that level.”

In other news, a top pundit has claimed Tanguy Ndombele has a brilliant understanding with one Tottenham player.