During the 2016/17 Premier League season, the Tottenham Hotspur fullback pairing was the best in the league. Kyle Walker and Danny Rose were both voted into the PFA team of the season. The following summer Walker handed in a transfer request and signed for Manchester City. The Yorkshire man was unhappy with being dropped in a number of key games across the season. He rested in these games in line with manager Mauricio Pochettino‘s fullback rotation policy. This season Pochettino has installed the same system at Tottenham but is it time that he kept constant starters in these roles and only rest or rotate when absolutely necessary.
Pochettino Must end Spurs Fullback Rotation
Most weeks Tottenham play with a five at the back system. This requires the fullbacks to push forward. Here is where Pochettino’s rotation policy fails. Serge Aurier and Danny Rose are pacey attackers and are capable of playing as wingers in attacks. Ben Davies can attack well but not as well as Rose and Kieran Trippier cant really do anything in attacking situations unless it is the delivery of the final ball.
Why do Spurs rotate the fullbacks?
Tottenham have struggled to break down the “lesser” sides this season when Trippier has started but brush them aside with ease with Aurier in the side. When Trippier plays Tottenham are essentially sacrificing an attacking outlet. The best example of the difference between the two has been in the past two league games. With Aurier in the side Tottenham swept aside Burnley 3-0. When Trippier started the reverse fixture the sides drew 1-1. Three days after the Burnley victory Aurier started against Southampton as Spurs were 5-2 winners. Both Southampton goals resulted from Hugo Lloris errors and had nothing to do with Aurier. The Ivorian had a good game despite playing three days earlier. If Aurier can play twice in such a short space of time then what is the point of regularly resting him?
Is it Safe or Sorry?
Aurier has a reputation of rashness. Trippier is widely viewed as a “safer” option. Is that the case? Trippier is apparently better defensively than Aurier yet got torn apart in his last start by Leroy Sane. Why is a player getting bettered by another five or six times in a game seen as a safer alternative to someone like Aurier who is prone to the odd loose pass or rash tackle that will present maybe one chance to the opposition? Against Manchester City, Tottenham for large parts was unable to play their way out. This was largely due to Trippier unable to take on his man or make runs to provide options for others. Aurier could have provided both of these but he was on the bench as Sane wrecked havoc on the left-hand side.
Verdict on Spurs fullback rotation
It’s common sense for a team to play it’s best players whenever possible. The gap between Davies and Rose isn’t that big and Davies has impressed this season while Rose is still finding his feet post-injury. Once fit, Rose should be the first choice left back at Tottenham. In relation to Aurier and Trippier, it is more clear-cut. Aurier is quite a bit better and offers far more. It appears that Trippier has gotten so many chances out of loyalty from Pochettino. The manager made him wait two seasons as Kyle Walker’s deputy. Trippier does not have the necessary skills to play as a wing back. He should not play there while Aurier is fit and in form.
DORTMUND, GERMANY – NOVEMBER 21: Serge Aurier of Tottenham Hotspur controls the ball during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspur at Signal Iduna Park on November 21, 2017, in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images)