Antonio Conte fires Cristian Romero warning as ‘expectations will rise’ for Tottenham star after World Cup win

 (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I)
(Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I)

Antonio Conte has warned Cristian Romero that winning the World Cup will only send expectations soaring.

Romero is back down to Earth at Spurs after Argentina’s World Cup triumph – and the even more madcap victory parade where the players had to be airlifted to safety via helicopter.

The 24-year-old centre-back will feature in Spurs’ Premier League clash with Aston Villa in north London on New Year’s Day, with Conte admitting the World Cup triumph will only crank up Romero’s everyday footballing pressure.

“He must know very well that a more difficult period will now start for him,” said Conte.

“Because this expectation is going to become high for him, and for this reason he has to work much harder and he must not lose the desire to improve himself.”

Argentina edged out France 4-2 on penalties after a 3-3 draw in the World Cup final on December 18, handing Lionel Messi the dream global triumph to cap his glittering career.

Romero and team-mates rightly revelled in that triumph, both for the victory parade and for several days afterwards.

Conte insisted that Romero has returned to Spurs duty in fine mental fashion however, with the Cordoba-born defender in line to feature against Villa.

“From what I saw in the last few days in the training sessions, I have seen him with great focus, and with great desire to come back and to play with us, and to go with this mind into Tottenham situation,” said Conte.

“For sure I’m really happy for him, for us it’s important to have in our team a World Cup champion, Cuti, to go along with Hugo [Lloris].”

Romero’s return will boost Tottenham’s options in central defence, with Conte insisting rotation will be the name of the game to cope with a hectic start to 2023.

“You know very well last season we played with Dier, Cuti and Davies, on the bench was usually Tanganga or Sanchez and Joe Rodon,” said Conte.

“We sent Rodon to play to have more time this season, and we made a substitution with Clement Lenglet.

“I think all of these players have to be able to play, and we work every day with all of these players. And for sure the moment that one player can be in a good form, another maybe needs a bit of rest to recover well, because maybe mentally he’s a bit tired, or physically, but I trust in my players.

“We work with them every day to improve the situation.”