Owen Hargreaves has claimed that Rodrigo Bentancur and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg are perfectly suited to Antonio Conte’s system.
Hojbjerg struggled for consistency at the start of the season and came in for criticism from sections of the Spurs fan base but Dane’s form has picked up considerably over the last few months.
The former Southampton man has formed a formidable partnership with Bantancur since the Uruguayan arrived in North London in January.
The duo’s displays have helped Spurs to deal with the absence of the injured Oliver Skipp, who was arguably their most consistent performer in the first half of the campaign.
Hargreaves acknowledged that neither Bentancur nor Hojbjerg are ‘brilliant’ players but he insisted that they are the sort of functional midfielders Conte needs for the system he employs.
The pundit stated that the work the pair put in to cover spaces allows Tottenham’s wing-backs and attacking players to thrive.
The former Manchester United midfielder told Premier League Productions (15/05/22): “These guys (Hojbjerg and Bentancur) do all the work for themselves because of the way Conte sets up with the back three and the wing-backs.
“They are reliable. They look across and know what they are going to get from each other. They are good in every phase, not brilliant players but Conte doesn’t want that.
“He wants functional players that work hard and are there for the balance of the team Bentancur and Hojbjerg do that brilliantly for this side because all eyes are on the wing-backs, on Kane and Son.”
When asked if Tottenham would be as effective without the two midfielders, Hargreaves responded: “Impossible. They have got the back three and the two in front. It’s like Tuchel. That’s how Conte sees it.”
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Hargreaves’ point is a fair one as Conte, throughout his career, has preferred functional midfielders who are tactically disciplined to those who can run with the ball or possess brilliant technical quality.
That is the reason why some of the central midfield targets we have been linked with, are underwhelming names. However, that does mean that they would not improve the side.
In fact, many Spurs fans were not particularly happy when we landed Bentancur in January but the Uruguayan proved to be exactly what we needed.
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