Spurs star says new position gets ‘the best out of’ him under Conte – Admits he had COVID

Antonio Conte
Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Ben Davies has revealed that he is enjoying playing at left-centre-back in Antonio Conte’s back three, admitting the position gets the best out of his attributes.

Davies has been a regular in Conte’s backline since the Italian arrived at the club and the Welshman has been rather solid as part of a defensive set-up that has kept four clean sheets in the last seven matches.

Left-centre-back is a position the former Swansea man is certainly not unfamiliar with, having played the same role for Wales.

The defender admitted he was hopeful he would get to play in the position when he learned that Conte would be taking over from Nuno Espirito Santo.

He explained that left-centre-back helps him make the most of his strengths while not exposing his weaknesses.

Davies told Tottenham’s matchday programme about his positional change (as relayed by Football.London): “It’s somewhere I really enjoy playing.

“Having played there for Wales, when the manager was coming in, and having seen him play that system previously, I was very hopeful that I could do a job in that position for him.

“I think that position probably gets the best out of me with my best attributes. In that position, I feel like I can defend pretty well, be solid and read the game well, and I’m not necessarily expected to go and beat people one-v-one, which is probably not the strongest part of my game.

“I prefer to be able to see the game, pass the ball and make better runs, and so I think it suits me well. Antonio’s probably seen a lot of football, seen me play in that position for the national team and so was aware that I could play there.

“I’ve now played there in the first few games, but I haven’t played that role a lot in my career, so now I need to just keep picking up little things here and there to get a bit more used to it and a bit more comfortable with It. I’m feeling good in that position though.”

Not only has Davies been solid in defence but he has also ventured forward to help Spurs create overloads in possession of the ball.

The defender explained that it’s a case of breaking forward at the right time to try and unsettle the opposition’s defensive shape.

When asked about his forward forays, Davies said: “I think when you play against teams who defend a bit deeper against us, the manager said that a centre-back has to be the one to try to break the line and get into the box as much as they can.

“The opposition then has to make a decision as to who is going to pick me up if I step in and, if they sort it out quickly, then it isn’t always a viable way of attack but, if they don’t and they are debating about who’s going to take that player, then you can get that moment of freedom, or it can open up the space for somebody else.

“Given the way the system has been set up, I think it has worked out quite well so far.”

The 28-year-old added that he was one of the first-team players who contracted Covid-19 during the outbreak of the virus at Spurs earlier this month.

While Davies admitted that he found it difficult for a few days, he insisted his fitness has not been hit too hard by the virus.

He added: “I had COVID a couple of weeks ago, so it was a bit of a stinker. I was quite rough for four or five days where I couldn’t really do anything.

“I was very tired, very achy and stuff, but, after that, I was fine. I was very glad that I’ve had the vaccine. I think that helped me to not get hit too hard to be honest. At the end of it all, I don’t think I lost too much fitness.

“It was just unfortunate that some of us got it during that period and, while the last couple of weeks have been a bit stop-start, primarily, everyone needs to be healthy.

“We had to make sure everyone was alright – that was first and foremost. After that, we just wanted to get back into the swing of things and try to get back playing again as normal as we can and we can’t be too disappointed or frustrated with the period as we know we’ll have the chance to play those games again later on in the season.”

Spurs Web Opinion

Davies’ attributes certainly make him a very good fit for the left-centre-back role in Conte’s back three. However, I am not surprised that Spurs are rumoured to be in the market for another left-sided centre-back as the 28-year-old does not have any competition for his place in the side at the moment.

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