His club may have been collecting points every weekend, but he was watching most of the action from the sidelines. The Dublin player played a total of four minutes in the division across his seven games.
Antonio Conte preferred Emerson Royal at right-back, while Ivan Perisic also appeared on some occasions. As it turns out, the Irish’s fitness played a huge role in their lack of playing time.
Antonio Conte had a letter to Matt Doherty before performing his duty in Ireland
Matt Doherty was available for selection throughout the campaign, although he wasn’t quite fit after suffering a preseason injury. This undoubtedly played a role in Conte’s decision not to pick him, as the Italian demanded that his players be in peak physical condition in order to join his squad.
The international break should provide a good opportunity for the defender to get some playing time under his belt, with the 30-year-old likely to play a key role in Ireland’s matches against Scotland and Armenia.
Speaking to the media ahead of the Scotland game, Doherty revealed that Conte told him he wanted to see him as his fan. Ireland Within the next ten days to try to come back strong to the side at Spurs.
I feel ready to start. We are training hard at club level and if the matches don’t start, you are ready to start, even if you are not on the bench…
That’s exactly what he said (to get some minutes with Ireland).
He wants me to go away and try a couple of games, he kind of said in his press conference that I would be available after the entire international break for selection. That’s some kind of plan, if Stephen obeys him! ..
I feel good fit now. It may have taken a little longer than expected. I was pretty much available all pre-season but wasn’t moving very well.
I understand where the manager came from, and where he thought my fitness was and that he was right at the end of the day.
I know he trusts me, and I know that once I’m back again, he knows what I can do for him, and once he thinks I’m available, I’m sure he’ll give me more time.
Like I said, in the past three or four weeks, I’ve started to feel good again. Just doing more things without having to think about them, finding my confidence in training.
I’m kind of pro-top. We’re training hard at club level, so I think fitness won’t be an issue for me in the two games.
Doherty is sure to start both games for Ireland if he is fully fit, and the right-back is perhaps the main attacking player on the side under Stephen Kenny.
Scotland’s victory over Ukraine last night has made the prospect of top group tough, although Ireland are hoping to score two wins in order to improve their chances of a second place finish in the Euro 2024 qualifiers.