Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League • England

Conte laughs over crazy Romero round trip; talks up Tottenham bench star with ‘great quality’

Tottenham pair Cristian Romero and Pierluigi Gollini

Antonio Conte was utterly perplexed when speaking about Cristian Romero’s ludicrous round-trip to Argentina during the latest international break.

The Tottenham defender was flown out to his homeland despite Argentina already having qualified for the World Cup, plus the fact that he was actually suspended for both games.

The centre-back was handed a two-match ban for violating COVID-19 protocols on his last trip back to South America. But Argentina still picked him in the hope of overturning the ban, which proved to be fruitless as far as FIFA were concerned.

Romero did return to Tottenham earlier than expected after FIFA’s decision. However, Conte is still not happy with how the overall episode went down.

Speaking at his press conference for Sunday’s clash with Newcastle, the Italian laughed when asked about the saga, saying: “I still don’t understand the situation.

“I spoke with the player. It was very curious. I was the coach of a national team and for this reason I prefer not to answer about this situation.

“It was a strange decision for the player. He’s here and he’s had good training sessions this week. Argentina has qualified for the World Cup and this is the most important thing.”

Bergwijn needs to have more belief

Conte was also asked about Steven Bergwijn shining for the Netherlands during the international break.

The winger has struggled for any real game time so far, despite impressing in some cameo appearances – namely the remarkable win at Leicester when he scored twice in stoppage-time to win the game.

Darwin Nunez doesn’t want to move to Newcastle and prefers London

Darwin Nunez doesn’t want to move to Newcastle and prefers London

Benfica striker Darwin Nunez doesn’t want to leave for Newcastle and would prefer a London move to Tottenham or Arsenal

Conte added: “We are talking about a player with great quality and potential. He’s different to the players we’ve got in the squad, 1v1 when the space is very short and he’s good to beat the man and create chances.

“I think Steven has great space for improvement and he has to give continuity. He needs to continue to work hard. He’s a player that can change the situation. He can create chances for himself and others.

“I think he needs to believe in himself more. He needs to continue to work with and without the ball and help the team in every moment.

“Football is a team game and you have to be ready to help the team in every moment. For sure we are talking about another player who is doing important improvements.”

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