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In Focus: How Davies can reignite his Spurs career under Conte
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Mitchell Fretton
Ben Davies has started both games under new boss Antonio Conte
Ben Davies has started both games under new boss Antonio Conte

Ben Davies has found regular football hard to come by at Tottenham — but a first goal for Wales against Belarus last Saturday capped an impressive fortnight for the Neath-born star.

The 28-year-old defender, who joined Spurs from Swansea in 2014, has started both games under Antonio Conte on the left of a back three.

With the experienced Italian at the helm, we explore why he could become one of the new manager's most valuable players. 

New manager bounce

There is no doubt that when someone as successful as Conte walks through the door, players are willing to put everything on the line to impress. 

The 52-year-old former Chelsea boss will have been boosted by a handful of his players performing well during the international break, with Davies, Harry Kane, Steven Bergwijn and Heung-Min Son all netting. 

Davies also led the way by bringing the extra energy the tactician will demand every week in the 3-2 Europa Conference League win over Vitesse.

And with his team-mates following suit, the intensity displayed is already in stark contract to how things were under former boss Nuno Espirito Santo.

During the goalless draw with Everton before the international break, Spurs covered 110km and made 151 high-intensity sprints — their highest total in both departments this season. 

The extra effort has allowed players such as Davies to have more time on the ball and make a greater impact.

Ben Davies was influential against Everton
Ben Davies was influential against Everton

Formation switch

Conte traditionally loves to set his teams up with three centre-backs.

He has wasted little time doing so at Spurs, with Davies being one of the beneficiaries of the switch from a traditional back four. 

Due to Sergio Reguilon making the left-back berth his own, the Welshman now has the opportunity to shine elsewhere. 

Conte encourages his wing-backs to advance into opposition territory and Davies can provide extra protection during their raids. 

Conte seemingly prefers a naturally left-sided player in his defensive trio and he fits that requirement. The fact Davies has scored six Premier League goals and assisted 16 times from that flank will also do his no chances no harm. 

A noticeable feature of the Wales international's game under the new regime is that he can step out of defence when Spurs are on the front foot.

He looks far better suited to his role and plays in a similar position for Wales — so it is no surprise his performances have improved.

Antonio Conte has shown faith in Ben Davies since arriving at Tottenham
Antonio Conte has shown faith in Ben Davies since arriving at Tottenham

A determined attitude

Davies has faced plenty of obstacles during his Spurs career — the No33 has only played more than 25 Premier League games in a season twice during his time in North London.

With a lack of pace preventing him from becoming a regular starter, he could have easily sought regular playing time elsewhere.

But Jose Mourinho described Davies as a 'team player' during his time in charge and Mauricio Pochettino also lauded him in a similar manner. 

Poch said: "He is a fantastic professional and boy. His position wasn't easy from the beginning but he kept fighting, always waiting for his opportunity to play.

"When we are talking about the team and the squad, this player deserves all the credit to keep fighting to keep up the level of the squad."

Ben Davies scored his first goal for Wales during the international break
Ben Davies scored his first goal for Wales during the international break

A short-term fix?

Davies has spent nearly eight years at Tottenham and his contract runs until 2024.

But while things are looking rosy for him now, Conte is likely to spend in January as he rebuilds his squad.

He is reportedly keen on bringing in another centre-back, which could put Davies' position under threat.

But Conte cannot ignore the fact his defender has already raised his game — he currently warrants his place in the starting line-up and will do all he can to stay there. 


Premier LeagueTottenham HotspurBen DaviesWales
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