The idea started off as a lark after Mauricio Pochettino plonked Juan Foyth at right back in a 1-0 Premier League loss at the Etihad last April. Spurs were in the middle of a grueling stretch and were short on players, so surely Foyth pushed wide right was a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency kind of situation. There’s no way that Foyth is really considered a fullback.
But then Pochettino did it again against West Ham seven days later. And then, while off with Argentina in the Copa America this summer, Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni did the same thing with Foyth — deployed him as a wide fullback on the right side of the pitch.
Now, fan sentiment has shifted, especially after Spurs sold Kieran Trippier to Atletico Madrid this summer. That leaves Serge Aurier, whom Pochettino has never fully trusted, Kyle Walker-Peters, who hasn’t gotten much of a run-out with the team there, and Foyth to battle it out for minutes at right back. And Foyth has now confirmed that he’s in the running for the job, though he sees himself as a utility defender, according to the Evening Standard.
“The [Argentina] manager [Scaloni] called me before the Copa and asked if I could play right-back because he saw he playing there at Tottenham. I said yes. The first game I played centre-back but the next three games I played right-back and I felt good.
”I’m trying to learn in every position I play and [internalize] what the gaffer says to me. But I don’t know if this is going to be my position or centre-back this season – I can play both and I like both.
”It’s nice to play two positions as you can have more opportunities. I think it’ll help. I will try to compete in both positions. Of course, all the players here at Tottenham are unbelievable and I have to train hard if I want to play. And when I play I will try to do my best. I think I can compete in both positions.”
Spurs fans only got a glimpse of Foyth at right back in the two International Champions Cup matches — Foyth was deployed at right back at the start of the second half when he came in for Kyle Walker-Peters, but he was moved to center back after about 20 minutes. While he isn’t a natural fullback, his comfort with the ball at his feet, ability to play out of the back, and decent pace make him an intriguing option in that position. He certainly didn’t look out of place in the limited minutes we saw him against Manchester United yesterday.
Foyth’s status as a utility defender will likely mean an uptick in minutes for him this coming season. With Toby Alderweireld now looking likely to stay at Spurs, CB minutes may be more difficult to find than RB minutes, but that flexibility will likely mean Foyth will be able to be on the pitch more, even if it is in a substitute role.
Foyth’s commitment to the Tottenham squad has been admirable. Not only did he basically not get a summer off thanks to Argentina’s deep run in the Copa America, he also got married this summer, but opted not to have a honeymoon so he could return early to London to begin preseason training and go on Spurs’ tour to Asia.
“I spoke with all the staff and we made a decision together to come back early for pre-season. It’s important to be ready for the season and last year I had two months holidays because of the World Cup. Next summer I can have a honeymoon.”
That’s nice, Juan, but you might want to make sure your new bride is okay with that as well.