Although Pedro Porro was brought in to be the starting right-wing-back in Antonio Conte’s Tottenham set-up, Emerson Royal should start against Leicester City.
For a long-time, Tottenham Hotspur has looked for a more natural right-wing-back under Conte. Although a good young defender Emerson is not a natural wing-back, and at times Spurs’ attack has suffered as a result. The inability to have a more attacking option at the position has undoubtedly cost Tottenham points this season and is why Spurs signed Porro in January. However, against Leicester City, Emerson should keep his place for these three reasons.
Reason 1 to start Emerson – There is a defensive need against Leicester
Tottenham played one of its better games the last time Spurs faced the Foxes. It was the afternoon when Heung-min Son did not start but came on to score a second-half hat-trick and bury Leicester. However, things are changing for the Foxes, and they are a better, more assured defensive team.
In the January window, the additions of Harry Souttar and Victor Kristiansen revamp a beleaguered defense. Souttar provides stability inside on defense, and Kristiansen helps bolster the left flank where Emerson will be patrolling.
Harvey Barnes seems to be recovering from his malaise, and normal right-back Cristian Romero will be out on red card suspension. Thus, Emerson will likely need to help Davinson Sanchez more defensively. We know Conte is a defense-first coach, so starting Emerson to help provide more continuity defensively makes sense.