As illustrated on FFC last month Tottenham Hotspur supporters don’t overly rate nor trust Serge Aurier.

This season alone the Ivorian has needlessly seen red against Southampton before committing to a clumsy challenge on Sadio Mane at Anfield a few weeks later that decided matters there. Devoid of logic and utterly rash that last one still astounds in retrospect.

In October former Spurs star Jermain Jenas even went as far as to state that the 26-year-old right-back should never put on the white shirt again following a pitiful performance against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

In his brutal critique Jenas identified Aurier’s poor positional sense while elsewhere another ex-Tottenham player Alan Hutton has lambasted Aurier’s decision making and ill-discipline. On that latter point it should be noted that the £23m signing from PSG managed to get sent off on his league debut in 2017, immediately highlighting one of his key flaws.

It cannot be said, however, that Spurs were not forewarned. In Ligue 1 the defender was infamously controversial and a regular inhabitant of the back pages, directing obscenities towards PSG coach Laurent Blanc and also towards a referee. In 2016 he was sentenced to two months in jail for assaulting a police officer. Ivorian team-mate Kolo Toure summed up the player on the pitch and the man off it by succinctly saying this: “It’s a lack of maturity, quite simply.”

All of the above combined has led many Spurs fans to assume – perhaps more in hope than reason – that Serge Aurier’s days are numbered now that Jose Mourinho has taken the reins. The Portuguese scowler is after all hardly one to suffer fools gladly.

Of the tweets above the latter is pertinent to this discussion and hardly unique as several other examples can be found online of fans comparing the presumed drumming out of Aurier to Mourinho’s treatment of Luke Shaw at Manchester United.

Yet Shaw and Aurier are very different personalities and principally Mourinho’s problem with the Old Trafford left-back stemmed from a perception – whether accurate or erroneous – of a lack of ‘courage’ and inability to ‘compete’. Shaw’s injury record was additionally a source of frustration and typical of the manager’s thinking this suggested a poor attitude to boot.

For all of his evident shortcomings Aurier, who earns £70k-per-week at Spurs, cannot be accused of having insufficient attitude – if anything he has too much of it – while his competitive streak is blatant, if often misjudged. Indeed when looking back through Jose Mourinho’s successful teams of yesteryear they are resplendent in precisely the kind of headstrong individuals that Aurier would get on very well with, and crucially several of these fractious types have stationed his back-line. Marco Materazzi anyone?

There is certainly no questioning Aurier’s innate talent – you simply don’t make it to three CAF Team of the Years or two Ligue 1 Team of the Years without possessing elite qualities – and though his stint in England has clearly not been a qualified success, to this point there is no reason at all to believe that under new guidance that cannot change.

It is understandable that right now people are speculating on which Spurs players might be heading for the exit door with a ruthless new boss incoming. It is also understandable that Aurier is among the names being mentioned.

Yet don’t discount the possibility of the reverse proving to be true and the Ivorian establishing himself as a favourite under the Portuguese boss.


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Stephen Tudor