How will Tottenham line up under Antonio Conte? Three-man defence could be an ideal fit for this Spurs squad

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How will Tottenham line up under Antonio Conte? Three-man defence could be an ideal fit for this Spurs squad
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Antonio Conte is a pragmatist at heart, not wedded to a single formation, and he will use the system which best suits the players at Tottenham – at least until he can reshape the squad in his image.

Clearly, though, there are reasons to think the current Spurs squad is ideally-suited to the three-at-the-back system which is most closely associated with Conte and transformed Chelsea into champions in 2016-17, before becoming widespread across the Premier League.

In Cristian Romero, Conte already has a centre-half who is used to playing in a back three and won Serie A defender of the year as part of Atalanta's three-man defence last season, when Conte's Inter Milan won the Scudetto.

There are reasons to think Conte will be delighted to inherit the Argentine, who has the quality to be one of the best defenders in Europe.

Eric Dier, Davinson Sanchez and Joe Rodon would all likely benefit from the extra protection of playing in a three, while the system also brings Ben Davies into play as a left-sided centre-half, where he has played for Wales, and Japhet Tanganga on the right.

All four of Spurs' full-backs, Sergio Reguilon, Emerson Royal, Matt Doherty and Ryan Sessegnon, are better going forward than defending (Doherty and Sessegnon are really wing-backs, rather than full-backs), making them well-suited to the system, although Conte has history of using midfielders out wide.

You wonder if Steven Bergwijn or even Lucas Moura could be Tottenham's Victor Moses, who was converted into a right wing-back by Conte at Chelsea.

In the midfield, it will be fascinating to see what a coach of Conte's pedigree can do for Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso, who have both looked uncomfortable in a double-pivot in front of a back four.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is likely to continue to be a mainstay, while you wonder if the service from a pair of rampaging wing-backs could finally help Dele Alli return to form.

Harry Winks will also be eyeing a return to the fold, although Oliver Skipp may find his opportunities more limited and Bryan Gil, who likes to play as an out-and-out left winger, may have to adapt.

Up front, Conte has two ready-made superstars in Harry Kane and Heung-min Son, who already have a telepathic partnership and should be able to replicate the devastating success of Conte's ‘LuLa’ attack at Inter – Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martínez – who were prolific last season.

Kane, in particular, is sure to be motivated by a coach of Conte's pedigree after falling into a malaise under Nuno Espirito Santo.

Conte is not expected to take training until Wednesday, the day before his first game against Vitesse Arnhem in the Europa Conference League, so perhaps a complete change of system may have to wait.

You would, though, be surprised if Spurs did not line up with something resembling the below at some point this season.

 (Evening Standard)
(Evening Standard)

How Spurs could line up under Conte (3-4-1-2): Lloris; Sanchez, Romero, Dier; Royal, Ndombele, Hojbjerg, Reguilon; Lo Celso; Kane, Son.

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