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Why does £20m Spence remain benched at Spurs? Conte explains wing-back snub amid Emerson Royal struggles

12:11 PM IST 04/10/22
Djed Spence Tottenham 2022
Antonio Conte has offered an explanation as to why Djed Spence remains benched at Tottenham on the back of a £20 million ($23m) summer transfer.
  • Starred on loan at Forest last season
  • Big-money move to north London
  • Has made just one appearance

WHAT HAPPENED? Spurs moved to snap up the highly-rated right wing-back from Middlesbrough after seeing him star on loan at Nottingham Forest in their successful promotion push out of the Championship in 2021-22. The 22-year-old has, however, been limited to just one substitute appearance this season – at the City Ground in August – and has remained out of favour despite Emerson Royal struggling to convince in the position he would like to occupy.

WHAT THEY SAID: Conte has said of overlooking England U21 international Spence: “The fans have to be fans. The fans is the fans, I understand they can think everything but I see every day what happens during the training session. I try to do the best for the team. If they trust me, then they trust me, but the choices are mine. If I didn't decide to pick one player it's maybe because he's not ready. We are talking about a young player with a good prospect, but I repeat I try to pick the best team.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Spence may get an opportunity to impress over the coming weeks as Brazil international Royal is set to serve a suspension for the reckless red card he picked up in a 3-1 north London derby defeat to Arsenal.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR TOTTENHAM? Conte’s side saw their unbeaten start to the 2022-23 Premier League campaign brought to a close at Emirates Stadium and will be looking to offer a positive response to that setback when facing Eintracht Frankfurt in the Champions League on Tuesday and in-form Brighton in domestic action on Saturday.