Wales boss Robert Page has revealed that Antonio Conte was complimentary about Joe Rodon’s performance in Wales’ 2-1 win over Austria last week.
Rodon started as the central sweeper in Wales’ back three against Austria, with Ben Davies playing as the left-sided centre-back.
The Dragons put in an accomplished defensively display and, courtesy of some Gareth Bale magic at the other end, overcame the Austrians to move one step closer to World Cup qualification.
Rodon has struggled for game time under Conte at Spurs this season, partly because Eric Dier has made the central sweeper role his own by putting in consistent displays.
However, Page hinted that the Tottenham head coach contacted him after his side’s win at Cardiff last week to praise the performance that the former Swansea man produced.
The Wales boss also lavished praise on Rodon for keeping himself sharp despite hardly playing any football at club level this season.
Page told Wales Online: “Well, I know Antonio Conte was watching last Thursday. And rightly so, he was very complimentary about Joe’s performance. I thought he was outstanding.
“To come in off the back of not playing at club level and to give that level of performance was a credit to him. It shows he has looked after himself. You know if you are going to be a Tottenham player you have to be fit at this moment in time. I know that for a fact.
“But it’s not the same when you are not playing. You can do all the training in the world but if you are not playing then it’s hard to give a performance like that so Joe deserves an enormous amount of credit for that level of performance. It shows he looks after himself.”
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In hindsight, Conte might feel that Spurs should have loaned Rodon out in January to give the 24-year-old a chance to prove himself at the top level. I would not be surprised if the Welsh centre-back pushed for a permanent move this summer, given the lack of opportunities he has had at Spurs during his two years at the club.
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