Antonio Conte is still settling into life at Tottenham Hotspur having been appointed as their new manager less than two weeks ago.
Much of his system, tactics and personnel will be tinkered and altered over the coming weeks and months as the Italian coach looks to resolve the sinking ship that is Spurs.
He has started life pretty well considering, with a win in the Europa Conference League and a draw to Everton in the Premier League but when the squad returns to domestic action next weekend, they’ll face the tough test of Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United.
The 52-year-old has predominantly used a three-at-the-back formation throughout his managerial career, earning silverware at the likes of Chelsea and Inter Milan deploying such a system.
One of the Lilywhites’ problems last season was their leaky and incoherent backline, so it’s a bold risk to take seeing as only Cristian Romero joined the defensive armoury in the summer.
Both Davinson Sanchez and Eric Dier have been rather error-prone, though the latter has been preferred thus far. Meanwhile, both Japhet Tanganga and Joe Rodon do not seem to be favoured yet.
In fact, it’s the Welshman’s international teammate, Ben Davies, that is acting as the left-sided central defender and on Saturday night, he just proved exactly why he has already won the faith of the new Spurs boss; actually playing alongside Rodon in the middle, too.
As per SofaScore, the 28-year-old even found himself on the scoresheet in their World Cup qualifying demolition of Belarus. The £14.4m-rated Spurs man bagged their fourth in the 5-1 victory and played a major role, having registered a surprising three shots on target throughout the 90 minutes.
His influence was reflected by the fact he registered more touches (100) than any other player on the pitch, including the playmaking Aaron Ramsey (61) and attacking midfield threat Harry Wilson (69).
Elsewhere, the Spurs defender recorded one clearance and one interception, and he won four of his seven duels, both on the ground and aerially, via SofaScore. Once again proving to be a “standout” player.
Davies, despite his involvement under the former Chelsea boss, has been touted as a player that could be binned off in the coming transfer windows but performances like this will make that as far from being the case as possible.
Interestingly, the versatile Wales star was a player Conte was keen to sign for the Blues back in 2016, as per ESPN FC, so that only adds further insight into why he has come straight back into the starting XI.
Jose Mourinho once lauded the 28-year-old as “intelligent” thanks to his ability to play in various positions defensively.
Earning reported wages of around £93k-per-week, Davies has shown everyone, including ourselves, that he deserves to start regularly in this new exciting era – the change in system has certainly helped, maybe it’s a match made in heaven.
AND in other news, Imagine him and Kane: Conte wants “lethal” 6 foot 1 machine at Spurs…