Soccer-Spurs' Ndombele must work harder for the team, says Conte

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Carabao Cup - Third Round - Wolverhampton Wanderers v Tottenham Hotspur - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - September 22, 2021 Tottenham Hotspur's Tanguy Ndombele celebrates scoring their first goal Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

(Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur's Tanguy Ndombele is a talented midfielder but he must work harder for the team if he is to seal a spot in the starting lineup, manager Antonio Conte said on Friday.

Ndombele, signed for 60 million euros ($68 million) in 2019, has yet to establish himself at the north London club, having struggled for consistency under three different managers.

The 24-year-old Frenchman could be in line for a start in Sunday's home game against Leeds United with Oliver Skipp suspended after accumulating five yellow cards.

"I have seen many managers struggle with his position. He has the quality, he has to understand it is a team and he has to play into the team," Conte told reporters.

"It is important to do what the position asks you to do. We are working very hard, he has to work much more than the others. He has talent but he has to put it into the team - for the team, not for the single player.

"Every single player has to know what he has to do. If every player just runs around the pitch, it will be a mess."

Spurs striker Harry Kane is another player who has failed to impress in the league this campaign with last season's Golden Boot winner scoring just once so far.

Yet Conte hopes the seven goals he scored for England in two World Cup qualifiers will give him a boost.

"We are talking about a world class striker. He's an important player for us, for sure to score is a boost for him," Conte said.

"I'm very happy because I had the possibility to know him much more, I understood he's a top player in many aspects.

"He wants to train very hard to improve. He's fantastic for me and my first task is to improve the players and bring them to another level. In this team, many players can do this."

Conte added Cristian Romero is sidelined for "seven to 10 days" with a thigh injury while Giovani Lo Celso is also a doubt.

($1 = 0.8847 euros)

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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