Is Tottenham's Kyle Naughton Being Unfairly Singled Out?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentOctober 7, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 06:  Ravel Morrison of West Ham (L) avoids the tackle of Kyle Naughton of Tottenham during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United at White Hart Lane on October 6, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Kyle Naughton has three years left on his current contract at Tottenham Hotspur, but what he doesn't have is an overwhelming sense of recognition from Spurs supporters. 

When Tottenham don't play well, a segment of their fans blame Naughton.

No longer an emerging prospect, he receives no benefit of the doubt.

Being played at left-back when he's better at right-back makes him an easy target.

It's harsh to single him out. 

Yes, there was a bad backpass against Cardiff City, but he has yet to make an error leading to a goal conceded in league play this season. 

You can't say the same about Naughton's teammates. 

If you've only just started following his career, you'd think he is some hack going by what some people say about him. 

Don't forget that Tottenham went to the lengths of hijacking Everton's proposed deal for Naughton in 2009, as reported by David Prentice at The Liverpool Echo: 

Everton officials made attempts over the weekend to thrash out a deal for Naughton, who had spent most of the last month indicating that Goodison was his preferred destination. 

Sheffield United's conduct has enraged Goodison officials and it is still scarcely believable that after issuing a statement on their website explaining why Naughton would be sold to Everton, he has ended up moving to Tottenham. 

Four years later, that £150,000-valued Irish kid from Sligo RoversSeamus Coleman—is an important player as Everton's right-back

SHEFFIELD, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 24:  Kyle Naughton of Sheffield United battles for the ball with Matt Holland of Charlton Athletic during the FA Cup Sponsored by E.on 4th Round match between Sheffield United and Charlton Athletic at Bramall Lane on Ja
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

It's a bitter pill to swallow for Naughton knowing he could have been in Coleman's position.

Spurs' clear weakness is left-back and while Naughton does a decent job filling in, he isn't a left-back.

"He's not a real left-back," said Benoit Assou-Ekotto, from the Press Association via The Guardian. "I can do stuff with my left foot that he [Naughton] can't do." 

Case in point: Naughton's display against West Ham United

Kyle Walker routinely played in Andros Townsend, who was a constant threat. However, Naughtonwho isn't ambidextrouswould move the ball to his right foot, thus slowing down play. 

Photo via Squawka
Photo via Squawka

The one incisive pass he played the entire game was on the right side of the field. 

Now you know why Gylfi Sigurdsson was a nonentity throughout the game. 

This is why you shouldn't play two inverted wide players with no dribbling prowess on the same flank.

As André Villas-Boas dilly-dallies Naughton from right-back to left-back, it's easy to overlook how much upside he had as a right-back. 

Naughton is a two-time Championship PFA Team of the Year member.

Former England manager and then Leicester City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson said Naughton's transfer value was the reason why The Foxes were unlikely to secure him permanently. 

"It's possible to take Kyle but he is extremely expensive," said Eriksson, via BBC Radio Leicester. "The club [Spurs] wants too much money for a defender."

Naughton showed he was a Premier League right-back on loan at Norwich City when he led the club in tackles and interceptions. 

Being the backup left-back, Naughton isn't going to push Danny Rose and it's wasting potential minutes for Zeki Fryers. 

Give Naughton an extended run at right-back which in turn sends a message to Walker that he needs to up his game. 

Doing this may salvage Naughton's career at Tottenham. 


Statistics via WhoScoredFFT Stats ZoneSquawka and Transfermarkt 
Twitter: @allanjiangLIVE


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