Antonio Conte sent Steven Bergwijn warning for Tottenham amid looming transfer window

With the arrival of Dejan Kulusevski and Son Heung-min and Harry Kane in top form, Steven Bergwijn has been struggling for game time at Tottenham this season. The Dutch international has started just four Premier League games during this campaign and hasn’t been in Antonio Conte’s regular XI since the 52-year-old arrived in the capital.

Bergwijn has made 25 appearances in all competitions during this campaign, scoring just three goals and registering two assists. His most notable impact came in Tottenham’s thrilling 3-2 victory against Leicester, where the 24-year-old scored two goals in injury time.

The Dutchman is a player who does get time on the pitch, but it often comes in the closing moments of games, meaning it’s a struggle to make a real impact. For a player who has shown his talent and proven his ability, it must be difficult for him to regularly watch matches on the sidelines.

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Former Man United defender and Bergwijn’s countryman Jaap Stam, recently spoke to bettingexpert about what Bergwijn’s lack of game time at Tottenham could mean for his prospects in the national team. “He’s still quite young. If you want to make steps for yourself as a player at a certain level, and if you want to get back into the good graces of [Louis] Van Gaal, in terms of playing for the national team, then it is better of course for him to play more games.

“At the end of the day, when you come from Holland and you go to a big team like Tottenham, when you’re working with certain coaches, people expect you to play in a certain way, to be a threat for them, but also to pick your opportunity as well when you get the chance.

“He has played some minutes, sometimes he has started, sometimes he came on, he scored a couple of goals.” The 24-year-old helped his side massively in the dramatic turnaround at the King Power Stadium but when he has been given the opportunity, there could be questions over whether he has been able to make anywhere near the same impact.

Bergwijn has quality, that is difficult to argue, but is yet to climb the pecking order and make a strong enough case to be in Conte’s strongest XI. Stam went on to explain that it seems that the Italian seems to prefer to use him as a sub.

“Maybe he [Conte] thinks that he needs to have a different type in his system of playing and using him as a substitute is good, with his pace, especially when you defend a little bit deeper, coming out on the counter attack, then you can use this pace as well when he needs to give somebody else a rest.” The forward provides a good rotation for the 52-year-old if the likes of Kane, Son or Kulusevski need a rest, but any player would much rather be a first choice than a substitue.

“You can say maybe he’s happy at Tottenham, and you never know what the relationship is within the club and with the coach as well,” Stam added.

Ajax were heavily linked with Bergwijn during the January transfer window but the winger remained in N17 and has been praised by Conte since. “He is very good in one vs one, good to beat the man. He can play striker, he can play number 10 and for us, for me, he is an important player and we have to try to improve, to become stronger, not to lose a player and become less strong.”

However, Stam has explained where the problems could lie in the near future, “If it takes too long [for him to get regular starts], then there’s a big chance that he might say, ‘okay, maybe I need to look for something else as well to play’.

“I’m not saying that Steven Bergwijn is like this. But in general, a lot of players normally think that they need, that they deserve, to play.” If the Dutch international does have this thought process, Fabio Paratici and Conte could have something to think about, ahead of the summer transfer window.

If Bergwijn gets offers from other clubs and Spurs let him go, it takes another option out of the squad, in a team that is already lacking depth. However, if the 24-year-old doesn’t get long spells on the pitch in the final nine games of the season, he will likely be asking himself questions over his future in north London.

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