Ange Postecoglou has revealed that after watching Yves Bissouma in the first three of four training sessions in the summer, he told the midfielder that he could be one of the leaders in the Tottenham dressing room.

Bissouma has undoubtedly been Tottenham’s most improved player so far this season, with the Mali international going from someone who was struggling to get starts under Antonio Conte last season to one of the linchpins of the side under Postecoglou.

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 19: Yves Bissouma of Tottenham Hotspur controls the ball under pressure of Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on August 19, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images)

The 27-year-old had dominated the midfield battle in all four of Tottenham’s Premier League games, showing shades of Mousa Dembele in his pomp with his defensive quality and ball-carrying ability.

Postecoglou revealed that he challenged Bissouma and the other Tottenham players to showcase the best versions of themselves, irrespective of what transpired beforehand.

Postecoglou wants Bissouma to be a leader at Spurs

When asked what he did to help transform the former Brighton man, the Australian told talkSPORT: “I don’t think I’ve done anything specific with him. All the players, it’s about creating an environment.

“I put the responsibility on them too because you can sometimes, when you’ve had a disappointing season, you can blame the manager in the past or other things, but ultimately I said to all the players that it’s about them now.

“You never start with a clean slate but you certainly start with an opportunity to take hold of your career, show me what you can do and be the best that you can be.

“Biss, I was lucky because he was here the first day I arrived. A lot of the boys had played international football but Biss was here from the first day.

“I kind of grabbed him and said to him that the way he was training at the time, the first three or four sessions we mainly had young guys and I said ‘you can be a leader in this group’. I already knew about his ability but the way he was training, I could see he got a lift from that.

“He was late the next morning and again I said to him that to be a leader means being on time and he’s been good since then. So there’s always lessons to be learned there.

“I think with him and all the players it’s about creating an environment, a framework to say ‘you should really have no excuses, I’m not going to allow you to have any excuses to not be the best you can be’. Within that context then the rest is up to them.”

Another player who looks completely transformed from last season is Cristian Romero, who has now become the leader of Tottenham’s new-look backline and has been appointed as the vice-captain of the club.

The 25-year-old was described as the best defender in the world by Lionel Messi and some of his Argentine teammates last week (Mirror).

When asked if what Messi said is true, Postecoglou responded: “I don’t argue with Messi. I tell you what, I wouldn’t like to play against him [Romero].

“Most of the boys don’t like to train against him. He’s a real competitor. I love that about him. Whether it’s training or a game, what you see is what you get with Romero.”

Spurs Web Opinion

I believe that Bissouma is now Tottenham’s most important player as his ability to handle possession in tight areas and progress the ball high up the pitch is a key reason why we are able to control games. Given the way we now play, I worry that we will be left quite exposed defensively if we lose the Mali international to an injury.

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