Date: 3rd November 2017 at 10:53am
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Is Winks the best English Midfielder in the game?

For those that have read my thoughts on Winks over the last few years, you will know that for a long time now I have predicted that he would become the best midfielder Tottenham have produced in the modern Premier League era.

As always, not everyone agrees, even now there are those who think that he will never be good enough to hold down a starting place in our best starting Eleven.

Now is not the time to crow about his super stats against Real Madrid, even if they were as comprehensively convincing as his performance was, only a full consistent and improving season may be enough to convince those who doubt him.

He is full of intelligent energy (knows when to go, when to stay and when to move), his ability to shield and hold the ball under pressure is in my view as good as, if not better than Dembeles’, if only because at the end of it he`ll generally pass to someone with time and space and not just off-load it to relieve the pressure on himself. That`s a top-class skill all in itself.

His forward space finding and defence splitting through balls are some of the best I have ever seen from a player so young and so inexperienced at the top end of the game.

His call up to England felt to me as being premature, but his performance was such that already there are some now that are saying that he should be one of the first names on the England team sheet.
Given how little he has played, the speed of his elevation is breath taking, he is yet to have a bad performance which for a young player who is still also on the return from what was a nasty little injury is even more remarkable.

But he has not missed a heartbeat, if anything, he has come back stronger and fitter.

I have made and will not make any apologies for being so effusive and positive about him, Pochettino called him ‘Little Iniesta’ and in my view he could easily emulate his Barcelona nickname and become one of the games greats.

Exaggeration on my part? well it seems Danny Murphy agrees;


30 Replies to “Is Winks the best English Midfielder in the game?”

  • Winks has surpassed my expectations for sure. I still think he can, and does, struggle in more physical games when he can be pushed around a bit. In comparison, Dembele is a rare mix of strength and technical ability, so while I agree that Winks thinks more positively than Dembele, Dembele has physical attributes which on paper should make him a superior player. The only problem is that he sometimes taps into that potential, but not always. Dembele can boss games physically and technically, whereas Winks will not and should instead be aiming to copy the likes of Pirlo. As far as his future in the England squad, he is clearly helped by the fact that England do not currently possess an outstanding generation of CM’s like they have done in the past. Talent-wise, I don’t think he is better than a Jack Wilshere, for example, but Wilshere’s fitness has stalled his career and that’s where Winks is superior. Outside of Wilshere, Winks can certainly stand up to any of his current competitors (Henderson, Drinkwater, Dier, Delph,…). Some things he will do better, others worse, but he has time and potential on his side, whereas you pretty much know what you are going to get from the others. However, I don’t think Harry Winks would be getting into Germany’s, France’s, Spain’s or Belgium’s current midfield, so there is still room for growth.

  • Spursex …. You do have a very good point. In fact you have several of them! I’m not sure if he is the best midfielder yet but, if he keeps progressing the way he has, he will be soon. For his age, I can’t remember anyone playing in such a controlled and effective manner, and with as little fear of his opponents, as Harry Winks …. especially on the stages of Europe and the PL. Apart from his abundant talent and mature attitude (another Kane?), he has three major things going for him; he is a Spurs fan, Mauricio is his manager, and Luka is his football role model. He can’t go wrong!

  • TBH, I think that he has already taken Dembele’s starting place, in as much as I can only see him improving every minute he plays and because Dembele now seems that he needs to be used more sparingly to be as effective as I believe Winks to now be. … Against Real, I watched him closely and there were certain traits in him that reminded me of Modric (whom he had idolised as a kid), when I had the benefit of seeing them both on the same pitch, at the same time. I have noticed that like Modric does, he finds space easily, moves quickly into it, surveys all around with a quick glance and knows his next pass before he is even passed the ball to. Then, invariably, his pass is swift and nearly always finds his intended target. – Even so, I’m not about to call him the new Luka. He is however the new (He’s One Of Our Own) Harry!

  • I don’t think Winks will ever make the German, French, or Spanish national teams. But I do think Kane will play for all three next season.

  • At the start of the season I said the player we are missing is a Fabregas type and Winks is moulding into that type of player. I think Dembele is now more of destroyer than a creator in our midfield.

  • Best English prospect at his age group, but easily a first team player for Spurs.l. A midfield of Wanyama, Dier and Winks would combine physicality, height, strength, movement and passing ability. Dembele does not do forward passing, heading or scoring but is a beast and great running with the ball. So could replace any of the first three named.

  • Belgian, thumbs up to your post as I agree with everything you said. I too have said all along that Winks is being groomed to take Dembele’s place as and when Moussa hangs his boots. Winks to on a fast track route to being something special. For a player of his ‘small’ physique, he relies on intelligence and forward looking movements and seeing him in the same position as Modric, he was more productive than the Croatian. Another attribute I welcome is his desire to be an active player around the oppo’s 18yd box, more so than Dembele and imo, his year end goal tally could well exceed that of Dembele over two seasons. He needs a couple of goals to really get him buzzing, if he isn’t already. His attitude and personality reminds me of HK, very grounded, hard working and level headed. Hope he stays on that steep learning curve, injury-free and emulates the desire and contribution of Kane. More so, who is the next one coming along the production line?!

  • Geof (03/11/2017 12:21:00), Lol! I am so glad we have a player that has blinkers on and can’t see the backwards and sideways too much!

  • BTW, I’d still like to see Barkley brought in. Winks + Barkley can provide options and cover for Eriksen imo. Beyond Winks, at the mo, I don’t see another worthy (fit) candidate in the squad for that position.

  • The great strength that Winks has is that he is equally comfortable attacking and defending. Players like Dier are essentially holding players screening the defence, players like Wilshire don’t have the defensive side to their game. Its strange in some ways, when I was first going to games all round midfield players were pretty common. For some reason a disproportionate number seemed to be Scottish (Bremner, Gemill etc). Now they seem to be a rare breed, Southgate really hasn’t got anyone else like Winks.

  • If the academy keeps pushing potential ‘world class’ players through to the first team at the current rate we’ll need to sell a few players in January to make room for them!

  • Trouble is Geof, for every Winks, there is an endless list of could’ve, should’ve….Onomah, Edwards, Shayon, to name a few….oh, Nabil and Mason…

    Hope to see KWP and Georgiu get some game time too.

  • Critical_Spur – By definition you will have more misses than hits, that’s normal. But remember Bentaleb, Livermore , Mason and Carroll brought in £40m in transfer fees between them so not a complete waste of time. Interesting you have already written off Onomah. Stand out player when the under twenties won the world cup, sent to Villa to get some playing time (which he is doing very successfully) but you’ve already written him off without him ever playing in his proper position for the club.

  • It’s nice to see the academy produce players, but as discussed many times, I don’t think any team should rely too much on its academy (especially not at the top end of a league). There are more players who fail than players who make it (especially at a big club where the threshold to make the 1st team is higher) and most players in any team will have to be bought, not bred. I also don’t think a player has a god-given right to play for the 1st team just because he’s from the academy. It’s nice when it happens, but a young player like GKN should be getting the same chances as a player from the academy. The 1st team is a meritocracy. Academy players usually need a bit of good fortune to get an opportunity, then hard work to seize it. At the moment, players on the cusp such as KWP and Georgiou need to bide their time. A player like Lamela returning should be getting chances before them, IMO. Coincidentally Critical, if Lamela ever does return, he could be the player to cover for Eriksen.

  • Not disputing that jod. Of course I don’t expect too high a % making the grade. It’s taken us almost three years to find a 2nd Harry! Yes, Onomah may turn out to be another Walker, being sent to Villa and making it at the Lane…. time will tell. We’ve got a good mix of bought in + promoted… more than any of the other top 6. Something to be very proud of. COYS!

  • jod – It may be too early to write Onomah off, but I wouldn’t read too much into his “achievements” to date. How many “stars” at U20 level fail to ever make a name in the professional game? How many players who excelled in the Championship fail to make it in the PL? Success at those levels may be a step in the right direction, or they may just be the best thing that player ever achieves. Players like Foyth and Winks were/are given chances to prove that they can make the 1st team at Spurs. Players like Onomah and CCV are being loaned out after being given a chance, and not doing much with it. Their loans seem like a “last chance saloon” rather than yet another step in their development. It’s a similar trajectory to the Tom Carrolls of this world.

  • I guess the main difference between Spurs and other clubs in regard to young players is that we have a manager who, if he likes the look of a young player and thinks he could make the grade, will give him a chance. Not many other managers would take the risk. MP knows exactly what he wants and is not afraid to back his own judgement. I like that.

  • Geof, this is where Poch DOES earn his corn. Since he left Saints, they have two managers, neither have been able to produce anything from their production line. Then Koeman goes to Everton and spends a fortune to try and assemble a team. Apart from Saints there hasn’t been a single club to have ‘one of their own’ make the grade.

  • Geof – I agree with that . And that’s the point: the players who are there, are there based on merit. The ones who are not, you have to ask questions about, given that we have a manager who actually trusts young players.

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