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Antonio Conte already loves one Tottenham player and that creates a dilemma with his team-mate

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Antonio Conte has barely got his feet under the table in his Hotspur Way office and already has a problem at the heart of his Tottenham team to fix.

The Italian knew he had issues to solve at stuttering Spurs and he has made a huge impression at the north London club in less than a week in charge.

Bringing with him qualities seen in his predecessors but also his own unique management and coaching style, Conte has breathed fresh life through the corridors of the club for the players and staff after a difficult period.

The former Inter Milan and Chelsea boss brings high energy on the touchline and behind closed doors and he requires the same of everyone around him.

football.london understands that the players have been blown away by the training sessions so far under the Italian as he works on small details with them all and has already shown his man management skills.

Conte’s request to have Ryan Mason join his six-strong coaching team has also gone down well with players and club staff alike, with high hopes for the 30-year-old’s long term coaching career.

For Conte, as well as that ability to bond with his players, the Italian also has that aura that makes him scary, not least because he has no issues with using confrontation if the situation requires it.

The senior players at the club have quickly been won over by the new boss as well as the ambition of the appointment of the Premier League and multiple Serie A winner.

That Conte’s track record shows that he will not give anyone a free pass, regardless of their talent, fame or previous achievements, is expected to keep everyone on their toes in training as well as on match days.

One player who has already caught the Italian’s eye is young midfielder Oliver Skipp.

The 21-year-old was a favourite of Nuno Espirito Santo, one of the few individuals the Portuguese was willing to speak about at length to the media when asked.

football.london understands that Conte has also already taken a big shine to the England U21 international and agrees with the feeling inside the club that he’s going to become a key player for Spurs for years to come.

Skipp is seen as a coach’s dream, with excellent technique, a great engine, vision for a pass, he’s able to take on a lot of tactical information and he gives everything, whether it’s in training or on a matchday.

He was one of Tottenham’s best players in their first Premier League game under the Italian, the 0-0 draw at Everton.

However, his yellow card at Goodison Park means that Conte will be without Skipp for the match against Leeds United following the international break.

That will give Conte a chance to look at a different shape to his team, even if it might not end up being Skipp who makes way for it in the future.

The Italian has stuck with the same starting XI in both of his first two matches as Spurs boss, ushering in his favoured back three formation.

Other than 15 minutes or so against Vitesse in his first game though, Spurs have lacked creativity in the final third and shots on target remain a real issue.

Against Leeds, Skipp’s absence will require Conte to either bring Harry Winks into the side to maintain two more defensively-minded players in the centre of the pitch or put either of the more attack-minded Tanguy Ndombele or Giovani Lo Celso alongside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

The other alternative is to take Lucas Moura out of the team, replacing him with Ndombele or Lo Celso as a number ten and switching up the formation.

Against Everton, Spurs played with a 3-4-3 that was sometimes a 3-4-2-1 as Lucas and Son Heung-min dropped behind Harry Kane.

The problem with a 3-4-3 is that with a back three the wing-backs are naturally meant to provide the width, which forces the likes of Lucas and Son inside into a congested area with Kane.

Playing with a number 10 would create a front pairing of Son and Kane and provide someone in the centre behind them capable of threading passes through to both them and the wing-backs.

It would be harsh on Lucas, who is one the most determined and energetic players in the Spurs side, capable of creating attacking situations out of nothing.

However, the Brazilian’s decision-making also lets him down during passing moves and against Everton, Tottenham’s moves sometimes floundered at his feet. He had a 75.9 per cent pass success rate, compared to Son’s 85.2 and Kane – who was also off form again – with a 76.5.

The only players with lower pass success rates were Sergio Reguilon with 68.6 per cent and substitute Giovani Lo Celso with 72.7. Reguilon in particular will need to improve in the left wing-back role after an erratic performance on Sunday.

In Lucas’ defence, Son and Kane were no better than him on the day, but neither are likely to be dropped at this point.

With Conte’s admiration for Skipp already in place and Hojbjerg being a leader in the team and a key figure, Lucas could end up being the fall guy and revert to being an impact sub and rotational starter as the games come thick and fast.

The team will change and there is an expectation that the Italian’s starting XI could look very different before even the January transfer window comes around as he learns more about his players and what formation gets the best out of them.

There are still plenty of places up for grabs around his team and those players remaining at Hotspur Way during this international break will be doing all they can to impress the new boss.

The Conte era at Tottenham has only just begun but there is a buzz inside the club about where it could be heading as he gets to grips with his squad and works with Fabio Paratici in the coming transfer windows to shape it to his requirements.

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