Tottenham boss Antonio Conte puts his faith in Steven Bergwijn as Harry Kane replacement during crowded fixture list

Tottenham begin a grueling ten-game streak in 30 days with Thursday’s home derby against Brentford and Conte confirmed Kane, the club’s only striker, is unlikely to start them all.

Bergwijn has struggled for consistency since joining Tottenham from Eindhoven in January 2020, and the winger has been linked with a return to the Eredivisie next month.

Under the leadership of Conte’s predecessors, Heung-Min Son has usually been mourning Kane through the middle, but the Italian wants to keep Son in 10th place and has revealed that he is preparing Bergwijn to play up front.

asked by Standard Sport If Kane needs to rest this month, Conte said: “I think so and I also think Stephen could be a good option. [to deputise].

“In the past, I saw Son played number 9. Honestly, I would prefer Son to play as number 10 – in the position he plays now. I like to have a reference point as number 9. Stephen works and we use him too in that position. [and] In the three positions off the striker. Stephen might be a good choice the day I want to give Harry a rest.”

Bergwijn scored goals in his first three home games in England, including attacking balls against both Manchester clubs, but his confidence appeared to dwindle after he missed a brilliant chance in the 2-1 defeat to Liverpool in December – sending Spurs off the table.

He has scored just one goal for Spurs since the start of last season, but Conte says the Netherlands international – who helped his country qualify for the World Cup with a superb goal last month – is not alone in his lack of confidence.

“I honestly believe that many players should regain their confidence in Tottenham,” said the coach. “When you finish the season in seventh place, the confidence is definitely not over. This is another aspect that we are working on – to improve it [players’] trust.”

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Conte added:[In Steven] We are talking about a player who has important skills. It was unfortunate for me – but not [Dutch] The national team, because he scored in the playoffs – because I wanted to host him in the two weeks of my international break to work with him and get to know him better.

“But he’s definitely high quality. He’s a good player against someone, fast, he can beat any guy and score too. He understands what I want from him. Tonight, he’s ready and available – and I’m counting on him.”

Kane has started all four games under Conte, including last week’s embarrassing defeat to NS Moura, and was named to the starting line-up for Sunday’s postponed visit to Burnley.

Getting the best out of the England captain remains one of Conte’s most pressing challenges, with Kane still scoring just one goal in 11 league games.

Despite this, Conte has no doubts about Kane’s consistent quality and says he’s only been able to truly appreciate his ‘level’ since working with him in close quarters.

“We have a world-class striker and he is Harry’s number 9 and I am very happy to have the opportunity to work with him because you evaluate so many times. [of a player from] Abroad [the club]Conti said.

“But only when the coach has the possibility to coach the players, do you understand their level. With Harry, I was excited to see him with the way he works every day and the commitment, heart and passion he puts in Spurs. It was no surprise but when you arrive you don’t know what to find. And I found this.”

Conte will miss Argentine duo Cristian Romero and Giovanni Lo Celso against the Bees, and could name the same 11 who were due to start at Burnley before snow caused an 11-hour delay.


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