A prize product of the spurs academy and lifelong fan of the club, Harry Winks has played the most PL games in a season so far in his career this year at 22. With over three months remaining of the campaign, it’s evident the responsibility on his shoulders has increased as he is the joint highest capped midfielder for Mauricio Pochettino’s team this campaign. An academy star and capped internationally at all levels from u17’s and above, Winks is now a staple in the Spurs starting line up. However, he’s had to overcome injuries, take his chances and keep developing his game to get here.
The beginning of Winks’ emergence into a first team player was riddled with a collection of ankle injuries in the 16/17 and 17/18 seasons that seemed to hamper the young midfielder. Four different spells out came at a normally very important developmental time. With questions over his ability to stay fit and ankle fragility, he’s responded by working hard on his fitness levels and undergoing successful rehab for ankle surgery at the end of last season. A full season playing at his current intensity may put them concerns to bed.
Unfortunately for Spurs and their fans, although returning to much better fitness this season, Winks’ injury bug seems to have passed to the rest of the central midfield. Victor Wanyama was sidelined with a long term knee injury, Eric Dier is only just returning after two spells out this season to go with Mousa Dembele’s injury ridden last few months and eventual departure in January. Winks has been thrust in to perhaps a much more important role than what was envisioned preseason. One that he’s coped with well.
A versatile player who meets Poch’s high demands for calm on the ball and successful recycling of possession, Winks has excelled as a flexible centre mid in the fluid systems the boss implements.
Seamlessly fitting in and taking his chance as both a deeper lying playmaker when playing as part of a 4-2-3-1, or showing the dynamism required when playing as part of a diamond midfield. Winks seems to have a natural eye for the pass, highlighted with a 91% success rate this year which would have placed him just outside the top 5 for the whole PL last year.
Not one to waste possession he regularly looks forward and displays quick decision making and feet, with only 10% of his passes going backwards this year.
His passing game has translated well into Spurs champions league campaigns, consistently stepping up and not letting the moment outshine him.
On the other side of the ball, an undersized and sometimes diminutive figure, Winks packs a surprising punch into his tackles. Showing commitment tracking back and a high positional awareness. Whether he’s being asked to cover for wing backs, try break up play or track runs, he does it with energy. Let’s not get it twisted he will never be a Wanyama type but his intelligence and hard work make up for those areas in which God did not gift him.
Forever looking to improve, Winks seems to have added more to his game going forward this year, as an integral part of a Spurs midfield facing many teams with a sit back and soak the pressure up the skill of creating goals is key. In the January’s PL clash against Fulham, Winks demonstrated all parts of his game, recovering possession, moving the ball quickly and using his dynamism to get forward.
He left Poch singing his praises, stating “It’s amazing, amazing, because we were talking in the last few weeks that he had to score and to have more presence in the opposition’s box because he has the quality to do it. I’m so happy.” Shining praise and a sign of what could continue to happen.
A huge asset for the club, Winks has a contract signed until the summer of 2023. One of the few homegrown players in a squad desperately needing them, the much adored Winks’ further emergence and establishment in the first team is great news for the club and fans alike. With his further development being watched by Spurs and England fans alike as he looks like a potential long term solution in a starting role for both.