READING, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 16: Kyle Naughton of Tottenham Hotspur is challenged by Garath McCleary of Reading during the Barclays Premier League match between Reading and Tottenham Hotspur at Madejski Stadium on September 16, 2012 in Reading, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Remember when Tottenham Hotspur loaned Danny Rose out to Sunderland and it looked like a stroke of genius? A highly touted youngster would get a chance to play every week in the Premier League and prove to Spurs that he was ready to make an impact at this level. Perfect, right?
It looks far less perfect now.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto is facing up to four weeks out with a balky knee and Spurs are forced to deal with a scary thought -- the don't have a left back.
Kyle Naughton got the nod at the position on Sunday and acquitted himself well. Normally a right back, Naughton spent last season on loan with Norwich so the pace and quality of the Premier League is no surprise to him and he looked very comfortable against Reading. But that was Reading.
What will Naughton do when deployed out of position on the left against Manchester United in two weeks? That is the concern for Spurs.
Andre Villas-Boas doesn't have many other options, though. After Naughton the most palatable is Jan Vertonghen, who has experience on the left, but is more adept in the center and is needed there with Younes Kaboul also out with a knee injury.
The most longshot option is Villas-Boas channeling his inner Harry Redknapp and spending two months telling anyone who will listen that Gareth Bale is a better fullback than winger. No amount of minimal impact Bale makes at left back convinces him otherwise either as the Welshman considers kicking Villas-Boas in the face.
It looks like Naughton is the best option and it will probably turn out alright. Spurs don't have a particularly difficult schedule coming up so while they will play teams better than Reading, it's not exactly murderer's row. Well, except for that trip to Old Trafford. That will be an adventure.