Harry Winks has had a big year. From making his Premier League debut in August to scoring for Spurs against West Ham in November, it’s been the stuff of fairytales for the Hemel Hempstead-born lad. England manager Gareth Southgate raised a few eyebrows earlier this week when including Winks in his latest England squad following a number of withdrawals through injury, as he has only started four Premier League games. Regardless, he is good enough to play for England.
One of the major criticisms Southgate has received as England manager has been the lack of flair in the side. Critics have cited that the Eric Dier-Jordan Henderson pivot is too defensive. Dier was originally a centre-back but is now a defensive midfielder for club and country, so he cannot be expected to be a creative catalyst. Jordan Henderson, however, is supposed to be the exciting, box-to-box midfielder. In reality the vast majority of his passes are either sideways or off target. All that Henderson seems to offer is loud shouting and the odd hard tackle.
In comparison, Winks has been compared to Andrès Iniesta by manager Mauricio Pochettino and is more deserving of his praise. He has a good passing range and can collect the ball under pressure and run with it without fear, something the current England side currently lacks.
Five players from the latest England squad came from Tottenham Hotspur. Southgate has stated that Spurs manager Pochettino is his “secret weapon”. With so many players playing together constantly it can only be a good thing for both Spurs and England. Should Winks break into the England side there is a very good chance that he could be playing beside Dier every week for club and country. This combination could well be the right mix of grit and grace that the English have been crying out for.
The future of Belgian midfielder Moussa Dembélé is unclear. Pochettino stated that he “didn’t know when he’d play again”. Dembélé’s absence could pave the way for Winks to finally nail down a regular starting place. Playing every week will only serve to improve the already impressive midfielder. He is currently cursed as the second Harry and the second “local lad” as team-mate Harry Kane’s impressive form continues. In his own right, however, the youngster is showing that he can have equal success on a domestic and international level.
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