Antonio Conte has hinted that he hopes Tottenham can sign a new playmaker to allow Harry Kane to focus on his duties as a striker, writes the 90min.
Once known as a pure goal-poacher, Kane has blossomed into one of the finest creative strikers in recent memory, racking up plenty of assists while still managing to maintain his impressive output in front of goal.
Former Spurs man David Ginola recently compared Kane to the iconic Diego Maradona. Those comments were put to Conte, and not only did the boss remember playing against the Argentine, but he revealed how he would like a new number 10 in his squad as well.
“I tell you one thing that is very curious. When I was playing with Lecce and [Zbigniew] Boniek was the manager, my role was No.4, to mark man to man the No.10. I was lucky, or maybe not lucky, to mark Maradona when Napoli played Lecce,” he said.
“We lost 3-2 but I scored! My first goal in Serie A. When I was only 19 years old! It was the last season for Diego in Naples but for sure this game is impressed in my mind because I marked him and I scored. I was very happy, despite the defeat.
“They are two different players, honestly. Maradona was a No.10, not a No.9. Harry, he was born a striker, however he has the talent and quality to play like a No.10 with another striker in front of him, but I like to have him as a striker and then eventually another No.10. Two different players with different characteristics.”
Conte was then asked whether he sees Kane as the only world-class combination of both a striker and a playmaker.
“It depends on the characteristics of the players,” he said. “For example [Robert] Lewandowski is a No.9 in my opinion. [Karim] Benzema sometimes also becomes No.10 because he likes to come back to receive the ball. Benzema is a player that is a top class striker and also has the characteristic to also go back and make an assist like Harry.
“It depends on the characteristic. In the past the No.9 was the No.9, a striker. Now in the last period there is the false nine who sometimes drops. Also [Diego] Jota when he plays with Liverpool, he drops, and [Sadio] Mane and [Mohamed] Salah become the strikers. It depends on the characteristics of the players and a good coach has to exploit those. You have to try to link your idea with the characteristics of the players.
“Honestly I prefer Harry like a No.9, because when he stays into the box or the edge of the box he has great quality, right, left, also with a header, he has great potential, but sometimes when he goes back and creates space for Sonny, Bergwijn, Kulusevski and Lucas, and also the wing backs.
“It’s important to have different options, otherwise you are predictable, and in modern football your team has to be unpredictable.”
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