Matt Doherty: 'I'll give absolutely everything I can for this club'
Sun 30 August 2020, 10:27|Tottenham Hotspur
Matt Doherty sees his move to the Club as “a big step forward” after swapping old gold for new beginnings in north London.
Snapped up by Wolverhampton Wanderers from Irish side Bohemians as a teenager, the man from Swords in Dublin has been on an incredible 10-year journey at Molineux, dropping down from the Premier League to League One before climbing back into the top flight and pushing on into Europe in recent seasons.
Now, after over 300 appearances, 28 goals and numerous more assists, the all-action right-back is beginning a new chapter in his career after completing his move here to Spurs, signing a contract with us until 2024.
It’s an opportunity he feels he’s perfectly placed to make the most of.
“I’m extremely happy – I guess if the people could see what we were just doing (in his signing photoshoot) with smiles on my face the whole time… I’m very proud to be joining such a big club,” beamed the 28-year-old. “With the size of the club, the training ground, the fact that we’ve got the best stadium in the world and possibly the best training ground in the world from what I’ve seen – and the manager… once I knew there was interest it was a no-brainer for me to get myself down to London.
“At Wolves I just had all the experiences – disappointment and then obviously getting promoted and stuff like that, but then taking it to the next level and getting into Europe as well. It made me stay quite level-headed throughout my time there, but now I just feel like coming here is going to take my game and my career to the next level. I think it would have been tough (to leave Wolves) if I was maybe going backwards or sideways but I feel like at Tottenham now I’m really taking a big step forward – just with the facilities, everything at the club and the manager here. After 10 years, I know a lot of people at Wolves but it’s a new challenge now and it’s really a challenge that I feel like I need at this time.”
A tireless worker, Matt played 50 games in all competitions for Wanderers last season as they fought with us for the European qualifying spots in the Premier League and made it through to the quarter-finals of the Europa League, narrowly losing out to Sevilla just 19 days ago as the competition’s delayed latter stages took place in a tournament format in Germany. He believes having the stamina to compete at the top of his game on multiple fronts will prove beneficial as he prepares to join our assault on the 2020/21 campaign.
“It is very important,” he said when asked about balancing Premier League, European and domestic cup duties. “It’s almost similar to a Championship season where you’re playing Saturday-Tuesday, the only difference is you’ll be playing against a lot more quality in a lot higher-paced games. At Wolves we didn’t have a big squad so I played the majority of the games. I’m pretty used to playing as many games as possible so that won’t be a problem.”
Describing what he hopes to bring to the team on the right side, our new number two added: “I attack both posts, I’m able to get into the box, score at one end, I can defend the back post at the other end and I’m a combination-type player where I like to play one-twos with people and link up with players. When I put the shirt on and when I get out there it’s all go for me. I get up and down and do as much as I can, depending on whatever formation we play and when I play – that will (dictate) how I play. I can play in a back three in terms of being the wing-back in midfield, I can play in a flat four at the back – there’s many things that I can do and I’ll give absolutely everything I can for this club.”
A senior Republic of Ireland international since 2018, Matt now joins up with his country for UEFA Nations League matches away to Bulgaria and at home to Finland before our Premier League campaign begins at home to Everton on Sunday 13 September.
“I’m going on international duty now and when I get back it’s going to be the first week of the season so I’ve got to get training, get used to things and get used to the players,” he said. “I hope to hit the ground running and I’m sure when I meet all the players they’ll be welcoming – I’ve seen five or six of them already. I spoke to the manager and obviously there was a friendly yesterday, but the way he was speaking to me, I wanted to travel down and play in the game! That’s how excited he made me feel about coming here. The first game of the season is two weeks away now so I absolutely can’t wait to get going.
“I’ve had all my family asking about boxes and stuff like that when they’re allowed back in – they want to go to the stadium! We played there last season, I know we won the game but we didn’t really get to experience it that much because we got to the ground late so I didn’t really get out onto the pitch to have a real look around, so for me to be able to call that home and say that’s where I go to work on a weekend is pretty special.”
Of course, Matt becomes the latest in a long line of Irish internationals to represent us, with legendary full-backs like Joe Kinnear, Chris Hughton and Stephen Carr all having played for the Republic during their careers. We also have a terrific following of supporters across the water.
Is Matt aware of the strong links between Spurs and Ireland? “Yes, because of Robbie Keane mainly!” smiled our new recruit, who is one of seven siblings and started out working with his dad in the family business of carpet and upholstery cleaning before embarking on his footballing career.
“I actually saw Robbie Keane last week. I was back in Ireland about a week-and-a-half ago, I walked into a restaurant and he was at the table beside me. He has messaged me and said ‘congrats, all the best’ and said if I ever need any help around the area sorting things out, just to drop him a line. And yes, I know the fanbase in Ireland is quite big – you can tell by social media! If you go onto my messages, I’m getting a lot of well wishes from Ireland so it’s positive and I’m over the moon to be here.”