Tottenham Hotspur are in an enviable position in the full-back positions, with manager Mauricio Pochettino able to rotate between two proven options on both of the Spurs flanks.
While Ben Davies and Danny Rose contest the left-back role, on the other side of the pitch the Argentine has Serge Aurier and Kieran Trippier in contention.
The big-money sale of Kyle Walker to Manchester City in the summer left a section of the Tottenham supporters worried about the lack of an ample deputy – but can either of the current options provide a stable long-term option at right-back or right wing-back?
Trippier has clearly won the respect of Pochettino since signing for Tottenham from Burnley back in 2015, with the Spurs boss trusting the 27-year-old in big matches, both domestically and in the Champions League.
The full-back’s performances for the club have also led to inclusion in the England squad and there are a number of reasons that Trippier should be considered a superior option to Aurier.
The Englishman’s delivery, both from dead balls and in open play, is the main positive element, with the wideman providing assists due to his accurate crossing.
Trippier’s commitment to the Tottenham cause cannot be questioned, with his work-rate and determination clear to see each time he plays.
However, the former Burnley man has been caught out of position on a number of occasions this season, with opponents taking advantage of the space in behind him to capitalise and score against Spurs.
While few Tottenham players covered themselves in glory in the 4-1 defeat to Manchester City last month, Leroy Sane’s systematic exploitation of Trippier’s defensive nativity was massively concerning.
Finally, the England international is rarely expansive when in possession and most commonly looks for a safe pass backwards or laterally.
Aurier’s addition in the summer was seen as something of a coup for Tottenham given his considerable experience of international football and playing in the Champions League for Paris Saint-Germain.
The Ivorian defender’s time in North London so far has seen highs and lows, and it is this unpredictability that has some of the Spurs supporters worried.
When at his best, Aurier has looked like an aggressive, physically commanding and hard-working player who can contribute positively at both ends of the pitch.
His pace provides an outlet for the Tottenham midfield and the African wideman’s first thought appears always to be an attacking one – which suits Pochettino’s expansive style of play.
There is also an argument to suggest that Aurier is a better defender than Trippier, with the former PSG man more aggressive and persistent than his English team-mate.
However, the summer signing has already shown that discipline is his main problem.
While some of the off-field problems that blighted his tenures at former clubs have not reared their head in London, on the pitch Aurier has at times been erratic.
The full-back’s dismissal against West Ham was thoughtless and could have been costly for Tottenham, while the penalty he conceded against Real Madrid was reckless to the extreme.
Currently, neither Trippier or Aurier is at the level Walker was when he was in his prime at Tottenham.
However, both are more-than-dependable options to play in both the Premier and Champions Leagues, giving Spurs the option to rotate.
Pochettino will look to help both improve, as he has done with Ben Davies on the other flank.
That said, with Champions League clashes against Juventus on the horizon, Aurier’s tenacity, experience, aggression and physicality means he would be my first choice at right wing-back for Tottenham’s biggest games.
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