Ivorian full-back Serge Aurier arrived at Tottenham last summer. The former PSG man was brought in to replace Manchester City-bound Kyle Walker. Since the move, Aurier has been rotated with fellow right-back Kieran Trippier. Aurier’s form in North London has been erratic. Some have written off the Ivorian following a largely underwhelming 2017/18 season. However, the man himself has stated that he wants to take advantage of Trippier’s extended summer break in order to impress. With manager Mauricio Pochettino’s record of improving players, particularly fullbacks, could this year see the fullback transfer his Ligue 1 form to the Premier league?
Serge Aurier as first choice right back?
As an athlete, there are few better in English football. Strong, agile, powerful and paceful, the Ivorian is the template for the modern fullback in relation to physicality. The main issues surrounding Aurier are related to his mental performance. Multiple unforced errors, as well as unnecessary sending offs and ludicrous tackles ending in avoidable penalties, have seen him regarded as somewhat of a loose cannon. Curbing his reckless streak will prove half the battle for Pochettino.
The player is only 25 and still has time to improve his game as Danny Rose, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker and Ben Davies have all done before him under the stewardship of Pochettino. In relation to natural ability and experience, Aurier has a big advantage over his compatriots. Aurier has won titles in France as well as at international level. The player should be up for the challenge of becoming a first-team regular at Tottenham.
Can Aurier dethrone Trippier?
Following an impressive World Cup, most Tottenham fans will favour Tripper to start at right back. The England international was widely heralded following his exploits in Russia. However, the Bury native isn’t as infallible as many would have you believe. His lack of pace severely limits the side both offensively and defensively. The English right back rarely takes on his man which slows down attacks and is often “left for dead” against faster wingers, with Leroy Sane’s performance against him this season and Dybala racing clear of him for Juventus being prime examples. Despite being less prone to unforced errors than Aurier, Trippier is less able to defend against quality opponents like the Ivorian is. The only area Trippier comfortably excels over the Ivorian is in set pieces and crossing. Trippier recorded five Premier League assists in comparison to Aurier’s two.
Regardless of who is first choice next season, Tottenham have two very good right backs to call upon. The battle for the starting role will be an interesting one and the fact Aurier seems to be motivated to do his best in order to achieve the role, bodes well for Tottenham’s season.
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