Pundit claims Tottenham star can emulate Bonucci with transformative Conte role

Date published: Sunday 7th November 2021 7:16 - Jonny Whitfield

Eric Dier, Davinson Sanchez Tottenham v Vitesse Arnhem November 2021

Eric Dier can step into a role similar to the one that Leonardo Bonucci played for Italy at Euro 2016 now that Antonio Conte is at Tottenham, according to one pundit.

Conte’s move to Tottenham has thrown up a string of questions about how far he can take the club. While most centre around the chase for silverware, there is also the question of tactics.

Spurs’ first-team stars have had to adapt to a number of different changes since 2019. Indeed, Jose Mourinho and Nuno Espirito Santo have tried – and ultimately failed – to mould the team into their visions.

However, Conte has earned a reputation for his style of play which have made him a serial title winner.

He usually operates either 3-4-3 or 3-5-2, with his defence a key part of his formation. In fact, he used 3-4-3 at Chelsea, leading the Blues to Premier League title glory in his first season.

According to Martin Keown, Spurs have the players to make Conte’s trademark system a success. He also backed the former Italy manager to use Dier as his chief centre-back, as Bonucci was at Euro 2016.

“Spurs have the players to play Conte’s way,” Keown told the Daily Mail. “Whoever starts in the middle of the back three will need to be able to ping direct passes forward — as Bonucci did for Conte’s Italy at Euro 2016 — and that could be a job for Eric Dier.

“Who he uses at right wing-back will be interesting, too. At Chelsea, Victor Moses went from being surplus to a regular starter. That included Cesar Azpilicueta being moved to the right of the back three.

“We could even see Lucas Moura at right wing-back and Emerson Royal as a central defender. We played with three at the back under Bruce Rioch at Arsenal and always had questions about it. It takes intelligence to implement.

“Thankfully for Tottenham, they’ve appointed a master at teaching players in double-quick time.”

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Conte tasted success in his first Spurs game, winning 3-2 in the Europa Conference League on Thursday.

However, his test back in the Premier League comes against Everton and Rafael Benitez on Sunday.

Mourinho gives Conte, Tottenham verdict

Tottenham manager Antonio Conte during his first match in charge in 2021

Meanwhile, Mourinho has given his verdict on Conte’s move back to London.

He said: “I think Conte is a good coach, but Nuno is a very good coach.

“He did a fantastic job at Wolves for four to five years, not one year or a few months. Tottenham have a very good coach now, but they had that with Nuno.”

Nuno lasted only 17 games at Tottenham and came in after Spurs failed to convince Conte in the summer.


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