Pierre-Emile Hogberg has a great intensity and is ideal for Tottenham under Antonio Conte

Pierre-Emile Hojberg may have disagreed among some Spurs fans last season, but he has continued to make appearances on and off the pitch for exactly why Antonio Conte rated him so highly.

Only Harry Kane played more than 3,986 for Danny with Tottenham last season, with both appearing in 50 appearances for the club. Ben Davies, with 51 appearances, was the only player Conte has used more than Hogberg in all competitions in a busy season. The 26-year-old started the campaign well under Nuno Espirito Santo and had a dip in form mid-season, but finished off the season strong alongside Rodrigo Bentancur, with some big performances in key matches, and the midfielder has shone this week with Denmark. on an international duty.

Hojbjerg is a fantastic figure in the Tottenham dressing room, part of the leadership group within the squad and a man with big opinions about everything going on around him at the club. Those behind the scenes describe the articulating Dane as an intense personality within the team, someone who consistently leads his teammates but can also be a lot to do with initially for those who haven’t experienced his behavior before.

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Hogberg is emulated and often played with injuries for Tottenham when he shouldn’t have done so, because he didn’t want to let the team down. football. London He realizes that, along with Eric Dier, he is the first player to arrive at the club’s Hotspur Way training complex each morning and one of the last to leave.

For Hogberg, the switch to Conte’s strict food controls from November onwards has not proven to be an issue at all as the former Bayern Munich and Southampton midfielder is investing heavily in his personal nutrition and keeping himself in the best possible condition off the field. He was often seen doing yoga in the training complex.

The Dane is someone who questions everything around him, sometimes very honestly, and that extends into his relationship with Conte, with some within the club admitting that the two men share many traits and similarities in their personalities. Although he has a strong view of football, shaped over the years, the Italian coach encourages discussion with his top players.

He shares that idea with his predecessors at Tottenham, with Mauricio Pochettino once admitting he would constantly debate back and forth with defender Jan Vertonghen over every aspect of tactics and training.

“It is true that we face a lot in training because [Jan] “He’s smart, he always has an argument and a reason, but in the end I really appreciate his efforts in giving the team what we expect of him,” the Argentine said again in 2019. A very good player is sometimes not appreciated enough. I am very proud that he achieved this level today. Not only on the field but off it. In my opinion, he is one of the best midfielders in the Premier League and Europe.”

There is a similarity in the way Pochettino talks about Vertonghen as Conte does about Hojbjerg now. With his post-match press conference coming to a close after Tottenham’s 5-1 defeat of Newcastle in the final month of the season, the Italian wondered why no one mentioned his midfielder.

“I see many players who have improved greatly. Also Pierre, no one asked me about him, but I think he is doing a great job in every game, with the ball, without the ball, physically strong,” the coach said. “Every player is improving and that’s why Tottenham are getting better.”

The feeling between the pair is mutual with Hojbjerg seeing the reasons behind Conte’s ways of doing things and perhaps telling us he’s referring to him by his first name.

“Antonio is a special coach, he has a special way of doing things, a very high level of performance. There is always time to adapt, time to understand the sporting side and also the personal side, and everything goes well together,” said the Dane.

The two men are equally passionate and driven, but some Spurs fans thought they had discovered a crack in their dynamics on the pitch after the 3-2 win over Manchester City. Conte was cuddling all of his players on the grass after the big win, but when Hogbjerg arrived, the midfielder appeared – from certain angles – to pull his arm away and walk away before the head coach congratulated him. Conte was left there, standing awkwardly with his arms outstretched, and paused for a while while looking at the back of Hojbjerg in bewilderment.

However, the Spurs boss later downplayed it, saying the midfielder simply didn’t see him and they celebrated together in the dressing room just moments later.

Hojbjerg was a key figure for Conte as Spurs broke into fourth. One criticism of the Dane from fans is that his death can sometimes be erratic, but he has shown real moments of quality in recent months, particularly with one assist for Harry Kane in the win over Leeds United.

In the big matches, Hogberg was present for his team and then some others. He was a huge presence in the draw at Anfield as he was in the north London derby against Arsenal and was a crucial figure in the dramatic transformation at Leicester.

Hogberg had 78 successful Premier League matches last season, more than any other player in the club and placing him in ninth place in the list of all-time tackles in the league. He also completed 2531 passes, sixth in the Premier League list behind a group of heavy possession Manchester City players, and 3059 touches, fifth on the list, which shows how busy he is during matches.

“I want to try to play for the big trophies. I’m not afraid to say when you go to Tottenham, people might not expect you to win things because of recent history. I totally understand that but I really want to change the course,” he said in an interview with the Daily Mail in April. Also, for my career, my ambition, I want to fight.

“You don’t tie my style to the headlines but my contribution is to the team. One thing I know I can do is compete with anyone because it’s in my blood. I like to push everyone, starting with myself, to the limit.”

His form continued after the Premier League season with Denmark’s dominant displays in their victories in France and Austria, assisting against the former and scoring against the latter.

Against France’s Hugo Lloris on Friday, Hogberg was one of the best players on the field, touching the ball 105 times, almost twice as much as Denmark’s second-busiest player. He played two key passes, completed one dribble, made two, two interceptions, and two clears in an all-out performance.

Against Austria on Monday evening, he was named Man of the Match, scoring while providing a key pass, making three dribbles in the night, and at the other end making three interceptions, one tackle and one key clearance as well as blocking Austrian shots heading for the net. .

Spurs’ midfield competition is set to intensify next season with Oliver Skipp returning from his pelvic injury to challenge Hogberg and Bentancourt and Spurs are expected to bring in a fresh face to replace Harry Winks, who wants regular first-team football somewhere next season. , with Hogburg citizen Christian Eriksen among those to look at.

Some Spurs fans have questioned Hogberg’s quality, especially during his dip in mid-season, but it’s clear what he offers on and off the field. He may be a strong personality but with a huge season coming up, the Dane could be exactly what Conte and the team need as they battle for the best in Europe.

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