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Antonio Conte slammed for “comparing” Tottenham Hotspur star with Leonardo Bonucci

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Antonio Conte slammed for “comparing” Tottenham Hotspur star Eric Dier with Leonardo Bonucci

Antonio Conte recently stated that Juventus legend Leonardo Bonucci is someone Eric Dier could use as a “good example” to follow. The Italian centre-back is a legend at Juve, and has played 481 games for the Old Lady to date.

112 of those came under Conte when he was in charge of the Turin-based outfit. Speaking about Dier, who has been called up by Gareth Southgate for the England national team this month, the ex-Inter Milan manager said:

“In modern football it means you can use him as a central defender but also as a number four. With the ball, Bonucci can be a really good example for him. But Bonucci did a lot in his career.”

“Eric has just started this process, but for sure Leo is a really good example for him because we are talking about an important player.”

The comments seemed to have rubbed former Chelsea striker Tony Cascarino the wrong way. Speaking on TalkSPORT (h/t the Express), the pundit said:

“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.”

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

Eric Dier of Tottenham Hotspur in action against Brighton and Hove Albion.
Eric Dier of Tottenham Hotspur in action against Brighton and Hove Albion. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Had Cascarino paid closer attention to Conte’s comments, perhaps he’d have a different opinion. The Italian manager, after all, never really compared Dier and Bonucci directly.

He also clearly admitted that the former AC Milan centre-back has achieved a lot in his career and that Dier could follow him as an “example”. Only mentioning the two players in the same sentence does not always amount to them being directly compared.

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Moreover, Conte is the manager of Spurs and has seen Dier up close. Cascarino hasn’t – at least not at the level that our gaffer has. If he even believes that there is a similarity between the two, then he has proven his pedigree as a manager for us to take his comments seriously.

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