Speaking in his pre-match press conference (via BBC Sport), Cristian Stellini hinted that Antonio Conte could be set to field something of a rotated starting XI at The City Ground tonight, before suggesting that the former Nottingham Forest loanee could be one of those brought into the side for the Carabao Cup clash.
Regarding the Forest game, the Tottenham head coach said: “Every game we play, we want to win. We will use the best team to try to win the game against Forest.
“For our young players, every game is the game to trust in him. If we think the EFL Cup is important, we need players who are ready. Djed Spence is one of those, for sure.”
Considering just how exciting a prospect Spence looked to be while on loan with Forest last season, coupled with how little the 22-year-old has featured for Tottenham following his £20m move to north London this summer, a Carabao Cup fixture against his former side would appear to be the perfect opportunity for the Italian to finally unleash the youngster.
Indeed, over his 45 Championship appearances in 2021/22, the £19m-rated right-back was in fantastic form going forwards, scoring two goals, registering five assists and creating six big chances for his teammates, in addition to taking an average of 0.6 shots, making one key pass and completing 1.8 dribbles per game.
The £25k-per-week defender also impressed in metrics more typical of his position, making an average of 1.4 tackles, 1.5 interceptions and 1.1 clearances and winning 5.8 duels per fixture.
Rather understandably, these performances saw the England U21 international earn a considerable amount of praise, with Ian Wright dubbing the wing-back both “swashbuckling” and “unbelievable“, while Trevor Sinclair also singled the youngster out in an interview with talkSPORT this summer, stating:
“There is competition for places but I think Djed Spence will go straight in there, especially with the way that Antonio Conte likes to play 3-4-3. I think he’s is going to be a huge problem.
“I saw him play against Arsenal for Nottingham Forest last season – he was against [Nuno] Tavares, [Gabriel] Martinelli, and [Kieran] Tierney and he ran them all ragged. I thought, ‘Who is this kid because I’ve not seen a lot of him?’
“He really made his mark in the Championship last season and also played very well against Leicester City when they knocked them out of the FA Cup. I think he’s the real deal.”
Indeed, considering just how incredible a talent Spence looks to be, it would appear extremely advisable for Conte to finally hand the 22-year-old his first start for Spurs this evening, as the youngster could easily go on to prove himself more than capable of a regular starting spot in the Premier League moving forwards.