“What does Harry Winks do anyway? Swear he’s got no talent” enquired a non-believer into cyberspace back in January. Such queries incidentally are hardly new.

Here’s some stats on the 23 year old’s performance at Spurs’ impressive new home when coming up against an engine room in the Champions League that helped accrue a century of points for Manchester City last season. He made five ball recoveries and his overall pass accuracy was 87%. All of his take-ons were successful, as too his tackles and aerial duels. He was everywhere and everything good about a very good Spurs showing. He was damn near immaculate.

And not for the first time either. Since finally overcoming a niggling ankle problem that curtailed the progress he made last term Winks has – in a typically understated fashion – enjoyed a storming season under Mauricio Pochettino and proven himself to be a key element of Tottenham’s good fortunes. His partnership with Moussa Sissoko has bore ripened fruit with a merging of strengths that somehow works despite neither player being particularly defensively minded, instead each naturally favouring an all-action style. For it to work requires constant awareness of the other’s positioning. It’s a high-wire act that seems to dove-tail smoothly.

Not that the academy product need worry if isolated. Winks has been widely praised for his ability to retain possession in tight spots while his passing if afforded a modicum of space is always forward and brave. Indeed so calm is he in tricky situations that it might be argued that Pochettino has chanced his arm on occasion this term, advancing others further forward and essentially leaving his star pupil exposed to the elements. He may not ‘literally’ be Spurs’ entire midfield but at times it’s sure felt like it.

But again, to press the point, Harry Winks is no defensively-minded holder. He just does his best work there, that’s all. It’s why Pochettino comfortably compared his skill-set to the Spanish greats such as Iniesta and Xavi. It’s why Spurs fans think the world of him.

All of which makes him not only an invaluable commodity for Spurs but potentially a gift for England too, for the Three Lions has been crying out for a deep-lying creator – who is equally capable of breaking up play – for eons. In Winks they have him.

His neat and tidy displays have won him a host of admirers who all see the possibilities ahead on the international stage and this includes of course Gareth Southgate. In November 2017 Danny Murphy said: “Name me a better English midfielder than Harry Winks.”. Two years on and he has got even better.


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Stephen Tudor