Tottenham boss Antonio Conte makes surprise admission about Brighton and Leeds transfer target Joe Rodon

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Antonio Conte admits he might have made a mistake by not trusting Joe Rodon in Tottenham’s leaky defence, but is backing his evaluation of the player.

The Wales centre-half - who was was linked with January moves to Brighton or Leeds - has been notable by his absence in recent weeks, with Conte appearing to favour a number of others ahead of him in his back line.

The Spurs head coach said before Christmas that he saw Rodon as a back-up to Eric Dier in the middle of a three-man defence, but Rodon has not got anywhere near the line-up even with Dier missing seven of the last eight games through injury.

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That points to Conte just not fancying Rodon, with the Italian saying he picks the players he thinks are best suited to the team.

Antonio Conte has kept defender Joe Rodon on the sidelinesAntonio Conte has kept defender Joe Rodon on the sidelines
Antonio Conte has kept defender Joe Rodon on the sidelines

“We are talking about a really good guy,” Conte said after Sunday’s 2-0 home defeat to Wolves. “We are talking about a person whose commitment is very high every day.

“But in this moment maybe I make mistakes to pick different players maybe. Maybe. My evaluation is to try to put on the pitch the best players at the moment.

“If I didn’t do this then maybe I did different considerations.”

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Ninth placed Brighton may look to return for Rodon in the summer. Albion boss Graham Potter previously worked with the defender during their time together at Swansea.

Brighton have impressed defensively this season but may look to bolster their backline in the summer having lost Ben White to Arsenal and Dan Burn to Newcastle in the previous two windows.

Potter still has plenty of options at the back and has Shane Duffy, Joel Veltman, Lewis Dunk and Adam Webster at his disposal.

Brighton also have Matt Clarke on loan at West Brom and Paul van Hecke impressing at Blackburn.

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Potter's men are next in action tomorrow night at Old Trafford against Man United. Veltman, who impressed in the 2- win at Watfrd last Saturday, said: “We’re on a good run at the moment and we have some nice games coming up,” the Holland defender told the club website.

“We’ll reflect on Saturday’s win at Watford and then focus on getting a result at Old Trafford.

“We play all our games with no fear and I think it’s important to do that whoever the opponent is.

“We know Manchester United have got some great players, but they are suffering a little bit at the moment and not where they want to be – so hopefully we get a result there.”

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Graham Potter’s side’s victory at Watford was their first clean sheet since Boxing Day as they extended their unbeaten Premier League run to seven games.

“A clean sheet was obviously good too. I think we did well and they only created one real opportunity,” Veltman added.