There was a fundamental shift away from attacking midfielders at Tottenham Hotspur following the January transfer window. With Conte’s current stable, how will he deploy his midfield?
Based on the moves made and the players kept, an attacking midfielder is more a luxury than a necessity for Antonio Conte. There is no room for a player who only plays on one side of the ball in the Italian coach’s system, especially if not a striker. Conte prefers the all-around midfielder who can do as much of a job defending the ball as with the ball. This preference is a good thing, given the new make-up of Spurs midfield.
None of the four senior central midfielders, Pierre Hojbjerg, Harry Winks, Oliver Skipp, or newcomer Rodrigo Bentancur are the kind of players that are going to keep opposing coaches up at night. However, they are all the kind of players that will put in a substantial shift and are willing to do the little things necessary to win football games.
Even the one academy midfielder we should expect to see more of over the last half of the season – Harvey White – fits the same mold of the working-class midfielder.
With the basic job expectation clear for Spurs central midfielders, the question is how many will be seen in most matches moving forward, two or three?