Antonio Conte has built a reputation on making stars out of hard work… can Dele Alli be the next?

Antonio Conte has proved himself adept at polishing rough diamonds when it comes to getting the most out of squad players. It is a talent Tottenham will be hoping he can put to good use in north London. 

Some of the Italian’s most reliable stars have been plucked from relative anonymity throughout his years as a coach, his style enticing them to give every last drop of effort for the cause. 

At Juventus, Chelsea and with Italy, Conte has reinvented the reputation of some players who have hit new heights under his tutelage. 

It will be hoped he can do the same at Spurs, with a selection of stars currently underperforming and out of form. 

Here, Sportsmail looks at those stars who have previously thrived under Conte, and who could benefit from the same treatment on his Premier League return.  

New Tottenham boss Antonio Conte has proved himself adept at polishing rough diamonds

Victor Moses

It is fair to say that Victor Moses was not flavour of the month when Antonio Conte rocked up at Stamford Bridge.

His initial stint arriving in 2012 had long fizzled out, with three successive loan stints to Liverpool, Stoke and West Ham suggesting his time at the club was coming to an end. 

However, the Italian’s methods changed that. Immediately buying into his methods, Moses established himself as a key figure, converting from a more attacking role into a wing-back as Conte switched to a 3-4-3 formation.

He played an integral role in the 2016-17 title winning season, appearing in 34 of the 38 games that season.

After Conte left, Moses’ fortunes at Chelsea once again began to dwindle, and he was farmed out on loan once again.

Once again though, Conte came calling, making him part of his 2019-20 Scudetto winning side at Inter.

On the opportunity to play under him for a second time, Moses said: ‘He gave me that fighting spirit to believe in myself and to enjoy my football same time.

‘It was an amazing [first] season for me under Antonio Conte and I’ll always respect him for that, he’s an amazing man.’

Victor Moses has spoken in glowing terms about the impact Conte had on his career

Victor Moses has spoken in glowing terms about the impact Conte had on his career

Emanuele Giaccherini

To most Premier League fans, Emanuele Giaccherini is conflated with a largely forgettable and uneventful spell with Sunderland.

But it was only his emergence under Conte’s guidance at Juventus that saw him catch the eye in the first place.

A diminutive winger, Giaccherini’s work rate saw him play a key role in successive title victories in 2012 and 2013. 

Such was Conte’s faith in the forward, that he was actually drafted into a more central role when injuries left the club light in the middle of the park. 

Sold to Sunderland in 2013, Giaccherini’s relationship with Conte blossomed once more when the latter took charge of the national team.

The forward played a key role in the Azzurri’s run to the quarter-finals at Euro 2016, scoring in the group stages against Belgium in a man-of-the-match display.  

Emmanuele Giaccherini (left) excelled for Italy and Juventus under the guidance of Conte

Emmanuele Giaccherini (left) excelled for Italy and Juventus under the guidance of Conte 

Eder

Another who thrived under Conte’s management of the national team, Eder’s role with Italy was somewhat shrouded in controversy.

Conte was initially attacked for picking Eder – a Brazilian who qualified to play for Italy through residency alone.

Roberto Mancini, a man who has since made good use of having Jorginho available through the same rules, stated at the time: ‘An Italian player deserves to play for the national team while someone who wasn’t born in Italy, even if they have relatives, I don’t think they deserve to.’

The national team coach immediately hit back, pointing to the role Argentina-born Mauro Camoranesi had played in helping the country lift the World Cup in 2016.

By and large, Conte appeared to be vindicated in his decision to introduce Eder to the set up. 

His international career only spanned from 2015 to 2017, but he still picked up 26 caps in that time, and, like Giaccherini, played a key role in their march to the 2016 quarters. 

He produced a man-of-the-match display against Sweden, scoring the only goal to send Italy into the knockouts. 

‘I enjoy the faith of the most important man, the coach,’ he said of his time under Conte. ‘If the coach asks me to get on the pitch, I’m ready.’

Eder excelled for Italy under Conte and starred for him at the European Championship

Eder excelled for Italy under Conte and starred for him at the European Championship

Graziano Pelle 

Described as an ‘example for everyone’, Conte’s admiration for Graziano Pelle was clear during their time together for the national team. 

Having left Italy in search of better opportunities, Pelle was banging in the goals for Southampton in the Premier League when Conte came calling. 

Another who clearly bought into the technician’s philosophy, the striker was glowing in his assessment of the ethic built within the national squad.

‘We have an unbelievable determination and spirit in our side. I have rarely known this kind of atmosphere,’ he said during Euro 2016.

‘It is manager Antonio Conte who is creating that atmosphere.’

Unfortunately for Pelle, his international career ended on a sour note. He publicly apologised for missing from the spot in the quarter-final shootout defeat by Germany, before blowing his shot with Conte’s replacement Gian Piero Ventura. 

Taken off in the 59th minute of a World Cup qualifying clash with Spain, Pelle refused to shake his boss’s hand and was never seen in blue again.  

Graziano Pelle was another player from a modest domestic setting who thrived for Italy

Graziano Pelle was another player from a modest domestic setting who thrived for Italy 

Marcos Alonso

There were a few eyebrows raised when Conte convinced Chelsea to part with £24million to sign Marcos Alonso in 2016. 

The former Bolton and Sunderland defender hardly appeared the calibre of player needed to create a title-winning side, but the Italian clearly had seen something in his recent form for Fiorentina that convinced him he was a man he could trust.  

Playing at left-wing back, Alonso became a staple of Conte’s title winning side, starting 30 of the 38 Premier League matches and finding the net six times in the process. 

He was just as prominent the following season, starting 33 matches in the Italian’s final season at the Bridge. 

The impact of Conte has been illustrated by his struggles since. Both under Maurizio Sarri and Frank Lampard, Alonso’s time at Chelsea appeared to be coming to an end, and he was even linked with a reunion with his former boss at Inter.

As it is, Alonso dug in and is now thriving once again at Chelsea, having reinvented himself under Thomas Tuchel.  

Marcos Alonso turned out to be an inspired signing by Conte for Chelsea back in 2016

Marcos Alonso turned out to be an inspired signing by Conte for Chelsea back in 2016

And could Dele Alli be next? 

If there is one player in need of a serious reboot at Spurs, Antonio Conte need look no further than Dele Alli. 

The 25-year-old appeared to have the world at his feet just a few years ago, when he appeared as an integral part of Gareth Southgate’s England side that reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup. 

However, he fell out of favour under Jose Mourinho, despite the Portuguese coach’s push to use him higher up the park. Off-field incidents have also plagued him, and he was banned for one match in 2020 for a racist social media post. 

He went six months without a Premier League start last season, and has once again been demoted to the bench having started life under Nuno Espirito Santo back in favour.

The introduction of Conte into his career could not have come at a better time, and there is a feeling within the game that this is an opportunity the former MK Dons man cannot afford to miss. 

‘I’m sure Dele will be sitting there going, “I’ve got to get it right this time”,’ Rio Ferdinand said on his FIVE podcast.

‘Conte, he doesn’t suffer fools, he doesn’t accept standards that are below what he sets. So I’m sure this is again a great opportunity.

‘He’s now got a manager who’s going to have huge demands, be demanding of him constantly every day. And that might be the turning point for Dele.’

Dele Alli's career has stuttered in the past few seasons and he is looking to revive his fortunes

Dele Alli’s career has stuttered in the past few seasons and he is looking to revive his fortunes

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