Spurs opted not to sign a new defender in the January transfer window but Conte’s side have been woeful at the back in successive home defeats to Southampton and Wolves
Antonio Conte ’s reign at Tottenham Hotspur got off to a positive start after going unbeaten in his first nine Premier League fixtures and giving his side the potential to achieve a top four finish this season.
But since the turn of the year, Spurs have lost five of their nine games in all competitions – including three to Chelsea – and have kept just one clean sheet.
This has seen them exit the Carabao Cup semi-finals and slip back down to eighth in the table, but a positive is that they still only remain five points off the top four and with three games in hand.
Nonetheless, the defensive issues still remain and despite the best efforts of Davinson Sanchez, Cristian Romero and Ben Davies in a back three over the past two games, it has seen them lose 3-2 to Southampton and 2-0 to Wolves in north London.
And according to reports, Conte’s players have been urging him to play Joe Rodon in order to improve their struggling defence.
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Football London reported: “Some senior players have been pushing the claims of Rodon behind the scenes, with his ability to play in any of the three positions in a back three, having been a left-sided centre-back at Swansea.”
Rodon, 24, has barely been used this season and was keen to secure a loan move away from the club in the January window but unfortunately for him, the right offer didn’t arrive.
His luck failed to change when both Romero and Eric Dier were out through injury, but now that the Argentinian has returned to action, in which he has clearly been Spurs’ best defender, Rodon is back down the pecking order.
And with Dier set to return ahead of this weekend’s clash with Manchester City, it remains to be seen just how much Rodon will feature for the remainder of the season.
When asked about his decision to pick other players over Rodon for Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to Wolves, Conte admitted that ‘maybe’ he made a ‘mistake’.
“With Joe we are talking about a really good guy,” Conte said.
“We are talking about a person whose commitment is very high every day…. but in this moment (pause)… yeah maybe I make a mistake to pick different players, maybe. Maybe.
“But my evaluation is to try to put on the pitch the best players at the moment. If I didn’t do this then it means that maybe I did different considerations.”
Conte remains set on utilising a back three this season and with Romero and Davies both being left-footed players, the Italian is keen to keep them in their positions.
But Sanchez has received plenty of criticism for his performances this season and Rodon would most likely replace him should the chance arrive, yet the outcome of that decision seems likely to fall into Dier’s hands.
And with Conte saying that Rodon is Dier’s back-up, it tells you everything about his current place within the squad in north London.