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Antonio Conte is waiting to unleash Matt Doherty

Matt Doherty has battled his fitness this season, but now he's raring to go against Scotland.



Matt Doherty spoke to the gathered media at his press conference ahead of Ireland's game against Scotland.

Matt Doherty was arguably Tottenham's best player over the second half of last season.

He then injured himself. And that injury carried over into the start of this season. Doherty has been theoretically available for every game for Antonio Conte at club level. But Emerson Royal has started every game at right back ahead of Doherty.

Doherty explained this week that while he's been available, he hasn't been fit enough for Conte's liking.

"I feel pretty fit now," Doherty said.

"My recovery took a little bit longer than expected. I was pretty much available all of preseason but just wasn't moving that well. But, to be honest, the last 3-4 weeks have started to feel better. [Compared to] where I was in training, I feel sharp again.

"I'm happy to be fit again."

Doherty will play for Ireland this week. And that's hugely important because he is Ireland's best player. Ireland lose creativity in wide positions without Doherty. And with Scotland showing well during the week against Ukraine, Ireland will need everyone at their best.

But this window is more important for Doherty than just retaining his starting spot for Ireland.

Conte expects Doherty to play two strong games for Ireland and then reintroduce himself into Tottenham's starting lineup for the remainder of the season. Or at least put himself back in contention for a starting spot

"I understand where the manager was coming from in terms of where he thought my fitness was. And he was right at the end of the day. So I know that he trusts me, I know that when I'm back fit again he knows what I can do for him.

"And once he thinks I'm available, I'm sure he'll give me a bit more time.

"He wanted me to come away and try to get two games in. He kind of said in his press conference that I'd be available after the international break fully for selection. So that's kind of the plan if Stephen obeys him."

Ireland face Scotland in Hampden Park on Saturday.

Who should start for Ireland?

 

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Antonio Conte Ireland Matt Doherty Scotland Stephen Kenny

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