Run-ins with police, breaking lockdown and now STORMING OUT at half-time… Jose Mourinho must wonder if Serge Aurier is really worth the hassle after Spurs star’s latest drama in Liverpool defeat
- Serge Aurier left the stadium at half-time after being taken off in Liverpool loss
- The defender has often been involved in controversy during his playing career
- Jose Mourinho infamously singled him out in Amazon’s All or Nothing series
As Jose Mourinho runs through the wreckage of Tottenham’s 3-1 defeat by Liverpool, he’ll inevitably revisit a question he has held in the back of his mind since he became Spurs boss: is Serge Aurier worth the hassle?
The latest incident on his rap-sheet saw him storm out of the Tottenham Hotspur stadium at half time after Mourinho elected to take him off at the interval against the Premier League champions.
The Portuguese boss must once again be pondering once again whether the best thing to do, sooner or later, is to cut ties with the 28-year-old.
Serge Aurier was unimpressed at being taken off at half-time in Thursday’s loss to Liverpool
Aurier left the stadium at half-time with Tottenham going on to lose the game 3-1
Aurier’s conduct causes a needless distraction for Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho
And let’s be clear, Mourinho has previously needed some convincing when it comes to the Ivory Coast international.
He infamously singled Aurier out in the behind-the-scenes All or Nothing documentary for Amazon. In preparing for a Champions League clash against Olympiacos, Mourinho turned to Aurier as he detailed how he wanted them to defend set piece and said: ‘Serge, you are going to be one of the markers.
‘I am afraid of you as a marker, because you are capable of doing a s*** penalty with VAR. So I am telling already that I am afraid of you.’
Aurier looked visibly stunned but clearly used his manager’s words for motivation – he scored in the 4-2 win that Tottenham went on to record in the match. How Amazon, and us all, must wish there were cameras in Mourinho’s office on Friday morning, when Aurier arrives for training.
In fairness, any of Mourinho’s doubts in his early days on Aurier’s defending appear to have been appeased for the most part.
He has featured 49 times under the Portuguese boss, 46 of which have been starts. The Olympiacos goal was one of four that he has scored under Mourinho, while also applying seven assists.
But while his performances have convinced Mourinho to persevere with the defender, Aurier has never been too far away from the wrong sort of attention throughout his career – some of which have been far more serious than an early exit from a football stadium.
He was twice caught breaching lockdown rules, once alongside Tottenham team-mate Moussa Sissoko as they trained in a park together last April. They offered an apology but the following month, Aurier shared pictures of himself having a haircut when hairdressers and barer shops were still closed in order to combat the spread of Covid-19.
When he realised fans were picking him up for his decision, Aurier took to the social media platform again to say: ‘My hairdresser is negative and me too so stop talking in a vacuum and put on masks and gloves when you come to take pictures at the training center (sic) it’s part of the rules too.’
Aurier has played regularly under Mourinho since he took over as Tottenham boss back in 2019
Last year, Aurier appeared to breach lockdown rules in May 2020 by having a haircut
He had previously uploaded a video of himself jogging alongside team-mate Moussa Sissoko
In 2019, Aurier was arrested by police on suspicion of ABH after a late night argument with his girlfriend, before being released without charge.
Tottenham would have known about Aurier’s history of run-ins before they signed him from Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 for £23million.
He had been suspended by PSG earlier that year for calling team-mate Angel Di Maria a ‘clown’ and manager Laurent Blanc a homophobic slur in a question and answer session online.
In 2016 in France, Aurier was detained after allegations he insulted and hit a police officer outside of a nightclub, with AFP claiming he elbowed the police officer in the throat. He was given a suspended two month prison sentence.
And Daniel Levy must have been left wondering why they splashed out on the Ivory Coast international when he was sent off on his full Premier League debut against West Ham for two bookable offences.
Roy Keane, in his role as a Sky Sports pundit, has often put Aurier under scrutiny. When he conceded a penalty against Leicester for a push on Wesley Fofana in December, Keane said: ‘I want to be careful what I say about this defender, I’ve been on this road before with him.
‘Utter madness. There is no danger, he’s not in on goal, he’s not looking at the ball… an experienced player, madness. He doesn’t think, this lad.’
Tottenham would have known Aurier’s history with trouble when they bought him in 2017
Aurier was even sent off on his Spurs debut after picking up two yellow cards at West Ham
But now, Mourinho needs to get the right-back focused on a key part of the season ahead
But, of course, Aurier doesn’t play without reason at Tottenham. He has performed well in his near four years at the club, dislodging Kieran Tripper from the right-back slot before he left for Atletico Madrid in 2019.
How Mourinho responds to this latest run-in will be fascinating. He has every right to expect a higher level of professionalism from a senior player who he regularly selects.
But despite Thursday defeat to rivals Liverpool, the top of the Premier League table is still bunched and Tottenham, in sixth, are only four points behind Liverpool with a game in hand. Their Europa League will soon be starting up again and they face Wolfsburg in the last-32.
So for Mourinho now, it makes sense to cool off any tension with Aurier after his Liverpool outburst and get him focused on the next game ,which is against Brighton on Sunday. But come the summer, the Tottenham boss would be forgiven for deciding enough is enough.
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