Antonio Conte questioned for comments about Eric Dier and Leonardo Bonucci after Tottenham boss urged Spurs defender to ‘replicate’ Italy veteran – ‘He was a failed midfielder’

    Antonio Conte’s comments about Leonardo Bonucci and Eric Dier have come far too soon, talkSPORT host Tony Cascarino insists.

    The Tottenham boss named the Juventus and Italy legend as an ‘example’ for Dier to aspire to after he was recalled to the England setup.

    Dier’s improved performances have seen him return to the top level

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    Dier’s improved performances have seen him return to the top level

    Conte has now compared him to Bonucci

    Conte has now compared him to Bonucci

    After becoming a key player for both Spurs and the Three Lions, Dier experienced somewhat of a career drop off in recent years, only for Conte to build him back up.

    The 28-year-old has played every single minute for Spurs this season in their eight games so far, even scoring in an opening day win over Southampton.

    Conte is clearly a huge fan of the former midfielder turned centre-back, mentioning him in the same breath as one of his stalwarts at his previous side Juventus.

    Bonucci worked together with Conte at both Juventus and Italy between 2012 and 2016 picking up three league titles after earlier making a similar move to Dier from midfield to defence.

    Speaking recently about Dier, the Italian manager said: “With the ball Bonucci can be a good example for Eric Dier. 

    “Bonucci did a lot with his career which Eric can replicate. He has to continue in the way he’s playing at the moment, I’ll be very angry if he doesn’t.”

    Conte has set some lofty goals for the defender

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    Conte has set some lofty goals for the defender

    talkSPORT host Cascarino was surprised to hear Conte go so far so soon using such a high benchmark, with the season still in its infancy.

    “He’s had a decent start to the season but comparing him to Bonucci is a bit of a long one for me at the moment, I’d hold back on that one,” he said.

    “I wouldn’t have that he’s as versatile as Bonucci, maybe he was a failed midfielder more than a midfielder, he didn’t pull up any trees.

    Dier still has a long way to go

    Getty

    Dier still has a long way to go

    “I think he’s not bad, I’m still reserved in my opinion over the course of a season on Dier. 

    “It’s a bit like Tottenham themselves, you’re judging Tottenham on if they can be title contenders, they’ve got a lot of good players, they’ve been really good. 

    “He’s shone in September and August and I don’t know how good he will be over the course of a season.”

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