Tottenham are at their best when Harry Winks dictates play – his vision and ability to retain possession is invaluable for Jose Mourinho… the Spurs maestro has now become a key figure in Gareth Southgate’s plans
Harry Winks, under-appreciated? Maybe, but certainly not by the people that matter.
Just over 58,000 people packed into the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the clash against Wolves, but none prouder than Winks, who captained the club he joined as a five-year-old for the first time.
It seems silly now, but there was a semblance of doubt over Winks’ future when Jose Mourinho was appointed.
Harry Winks captained Tottenham for the first time on Sunday in their 3-2 defeat by Wolves
Winks’ (right) vision and ability to retain possession is invaluable for manager Jose Mourinho
Five months on, suffice to say those doubts have been dispelled; his emergence as one of Mourinho’s key foot soldiers solidified by the manager’s decision to adorn him with the armband in injured duo Hugo Lloris and Harry Kane’s absence.
Winks’ influence on the Mourinho era is growing by the week, an emerging constant in what’s been a turbulent few weeks for Spurs.
Not that it bothers him, but Winks isn’t one who receives the adulation he necessarily deserves. Players of his type rarely do.
Busy beavering away putting in the hard yards in Tottenham’s midfield – Winks’ contribution can often go undetected.
Under-appreciated, then? Maybe, by some. Not though, by Mourinho. Nor by Mauricio Pochettino. Nor Gareth Southgate.
There were doubts about Winks’ future when Mourinho took over but they have been dispelled
‘Everybody always talks about players like Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick … people like Michael Carrick get a lot of recognition after they retire and they are more players’ players as such,’ said Winks recently.
‘Every team needs goalscorers, needs attacking players, needs players who can sweep up the ball, but every team needs that someone who can be that link between both defence and attack.
‘If you look at the greatest teams who have played they have always had that sort of player. I think in England especially there is always an impetus to look straight for the attack-minded players, to look at the goalscorers and the people who get the assists.’
Winks’ vision and ability to retain possession, even in the tightest of spots, is invaluable for those teams – such as Spurs – who are expected to enjoy the lions share of possession.
No English midfielder has completed more passes at a higher completion rate in the Premier League this season. Simply put: Tottenham are at their best when Winks is dictating the team’s game. Like Scholes and Carrick used to do for Manchester United.
Winks’ emergence as one of the leaders in the dressing room highlights his importance
One of the first names on the team-sheet for Mourinho, his emergence as one of the leaders in the dressing room merely highlights his burgeoning importance.
Likewise, he is becoming increasingly central to Southgate’s plans as the England boss finalises what he views as his first-choice XI going into Euro 2020.
As it stands, Winks can expect to start England’s opening game of the tournament against Croatia on June 14.
That will be music to England’s attacking contingent of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford, who have all privately expressed their belief that the team’s possession-based style is enhanced by Winks’ presence.
So, Harry Winks under-appreciated? Not a chance.