When Matt Doherty signed for Spurs in August 2020, it seemed he had the best years of his career ahead of him. After helping Wolves secure successive promotions and being a standout defender in the Midlander’s first two seasons back in the Premier League, he’d earned his move to a bigger club.
But his style of play never seemed suited to Jose Mourinho’s team setup, and he failed to hold down a position in the team.
Licence to attack
Now, back at Wolves and once again given licence to get forward, the Dublin-born wingback will be hoping to recapture the form that saw him eyed by the Premier League’s big-hitters. He certainly hit the ground running on his second debut, scoring twice in a comfortable 5-0 EFL cup win over Blackpool. And while the latest football odds may not have Wolves down as title challengers, fans will be hoping for an extended cup run.
Pain in Spain
After things turned sour at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Matt Doherty’s contract was terminated in the January 2023 transfer window to allow him to join Atletico Madrid. Naturally, comparisons were drawn with previous Spurs right-back, Kieran Trippier, who excelled in the Spanish capital before moving back to the Premier League with Newcastle United.
Sadly for Doherty, this was another move that delivered far less than it promised. Things didn’t start well as he only made it onto the bench for the opening four games of his time at the club. And even when regular right-back Nahuel Molina was suspended, Doherty didn’t make the starting eleven.
On that occasion, Atletico coach Diego Simone opted to play midfielder Marcus Llorente instead. Although Doherty did at least get on the pitch when he made his debut from the subs bench late on. He made just one other appearance for Madrid before re-signing for Wolves on 20th July 2023 on a free transfer.
It hasn’t been all bad news
With his disappointments at Tottenham and Madrid, you’d be forgiven for thinking the past three years of Matt Doherty’s football career have been all doom and gloom. But he remained part of the Republic of Ireland setup, captaining his country for the first time in a 3-2 win over Latvia in March 2023. He was in the Ireland squad for the September round of Euro 2024 qualifiers despite being suspended for the game against France after receiving a red card in an earlier qualifier against Greece.
Another golden era?
Doherty enjoyed a fabulous 10 years at Molineux during his first spell playing for the boys in gold. He played more than 300 games for the club and scored 28 goals. He was also part of a squad that established itself in the Premier League, reached an FA Cup semi-final, and made it to the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
If he can achieve just a fraction of that in his second spell, Matt Doherty will look back fondly on all the years he spent at the club.