If Antonio Conte wanted his first game to sum up everything he will have to work with at Tottenham, then he no doubt saw it all against Vitesse in the Europa Conference League on Thursday night.
The Italian witnessed a quite incredible opening game in charge, with the Lilywhites storming into a 3-0 lead before being pegged back to 3-2 and seeing three red cards dished out in a frantic second half.
The defending would have left him scratching his head at times, but Conte would surely have been very excited by the performance and potential of one of the club’s summer signings in Emerson Royal.
The man signed by Fabio Paratici was deployed in the right wing-back role in Conte’s favoured formation and showed all the signs of industry and dynamism which could make him a real big player for the former Inter boss.
As per Sofascore, he won eight duels on the night (the joint-second most of any player on the pitch behind international compatriot Lucas Moura), made the most tackles with five, and had the second-most touches of any Spurs player with 81.
Whether it was being intense and fully engaged with the way he tried to pressure the ball, or his powerful running going forward, the Brazilian was a superb outlet for Spurs, especially on the counter-attack.
It was the former Betis man’s charging run towards the closing stages of the game which eventually saw Vitesse’s goalkeeper sent off after being adjudged to having handled the ball outside of his box.
Writing in their post-match ratings for Hotspur HQ, they gave Emerson a 7.5, saying: “From an offensive perspective, Emerson Royal is getting better and better. Royal was a consistent outlet on the right and pushed forward early and often. Royal showed stepovers and a willingness to knock the ball into the box.
“As the team went down a man Royal did what he could in the back four, although not a natural fullback. Was right back on the front foot after the Vitesse card. It was Royal beating Markus Schubert to a ball down that wing that led to Vitesse’s second red card. Endless energy and effort.”
If the first game under the new manager was anything to go by, then Emerson could be a game-changing player under Conte with his relentless work down the right flank, and the Italian would surely have been raving with the 22-year-old’s performance on Thursday night.
Meanwhile, Spurs must replace this midfielder…