Antonio Conte admits linked-away Spurs player is ‘totally involved’ in his plans

Antonio Conte
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Antonio Conte has praised the effort that Steven Bergwijn has shown in training and insisted that the Dutchman now has a better understanding of the tactical demands of his system.

Conte has had to rotate his squad in the last couple of matches, with Dele Alli and Harry Winks taking their opportunities with both hands in Spurs’ 2-2 draw against Liverpool on Sunday.

Bergwijn and Matt Doherty came into the side for yesterday’s Carabao Cup quarter-final against West Ham and both players repaid the Italian’s faith.

While the former PSV Eindhoven man picked up a goal and an assist in the 2-1 win, Doherty was defensively solid and played some dangerous crosses into the box for the home side.

Conte has now admitted that he is always willing to give opportunities to players who are ready to give their all.

The Spurs boss told Football.London after his side’s win over West Ham: “I always said that I found a group of players that showed me from the first day great commitment, good behaviour and a good desire to show me that we can build something important together.

“I think I’m very happy to have this type of answer tonight. Doherty and Steven Bergwijn, they played a really good game. It means they’re working well.

“They’re involved in what we want to do. I’m always very clear with my players. They have to give me everything and then if they deserve to play, they play.

“The most important thing is that when they play they have to give me everything. It doesn’t matter about a good game or bad game, but I have to see players totally involved in what we want to do.”

Over recent weeks, reports have indicated that Bergwijn could be on his way out of Tottenham in January, with Ajax said to be keen on the player.

However, Conte has revealed that the 24-year-old has been getting a better understanding of his role in training and admitted that the Netherlands international would have played against Brighton and Leicester had the games not been postponed.

The 52-year-old said on Bergwijn: “Yeah, I think these two weeks that we had many players with Covid helped me and helped Steven Bergwijn to understand very well what I want from him and what I want from the other 11 players we had in training.

“Don’t forget, for many days we trained with only 11 or 12 players. On one hand, it was very difficult. On the other hand we exploited this situation to improve the players.

“We prepared to play the games with these players. For sure, Steven should have played against Leicester, against Brighton, the games that were postponed.

“With him and also other players, we tried to exploit the period when we were only 11 or 12 players, to improve these players. Now Steven is a player totally involved into what I want, into what I ask from my players.

“Don’t forget that I like to have a plan and I like to give options to my players. Every single player has to know what I want during the game offensively and defensively.”

Spurs Web Opinion

It is clear that the players who are coming into the side are keen to impress Conte. Many of the fringe players at the club are playing for their futures at Spurs, which is perhaps why we are seeing the team posting such impressive running stats over the last few weeks.

What also helps is the fact that the players now seem to have a clear understanding of their roles on and off the ball. For all the flak they got under previous regimes, the likes of Winks, Dele, Davies, Sanchez etc have shown they have some very useful attributes.

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